The Tweeks, twin teen geeks Maddy and Anya Ernst, welcome us to their first ComicMix Challenged Challenge with a passionate discussion about Jeff Smith’s classic graphic novel, Bone: Out of Boneville.
As the Tweeks point out, although this book has become modern favorite for many readers and in many ways has paved the way for a lifelong love of comics, this graphic novel has found a spot on the ALA’s top 10 list of frequently challenged books. Whether the content is considered “politically, racially, or socially offensive,” violent, racist, or even age inappropriate for the depiction of adult characters engaged activities such as drinking and smoking, Bone has had to overcome several challenges in schools and libraries across the United States.
“This is a book we have loved since we were 8 years old,” said the Tweeks. “And truly is the book that introduced us to graphic novels. It’s a story about strangers in a strange land and in telling of Bone and his cousins, kids gets some examples of the consequences that can result when you aren’t well-behaved…. Spoiler Alert: We think it’s crazy that this book would even be considered being banned.”
This is exactly the confused response that many people have when told about how controversial the book has become in the eyes of numerous communities. As the Tweeks appropriately note regarding the challenge cases, “How sheltered are these people?” Jeff Smith, CBLDF Board Member and creator, commented last year when the book was #10 on the ALA Banned Book List the “I have no idea what book these people read. After fielding these and other charges for a while now, I’m starting to think such outrageous accusations (really, racism?) say more about the people who make them than about the books themselves.”
The Tweeks see Bone not as something that needs to be pulled from shelves, but rather offers a “great chance for parents to talk about some of the offense scenes with their kids” and remind us that “every book has value.”
And for educators and librarians below is a quick list of several of the resources that CBLDF provides should you need to defend your students and patrons right to read if this book is challenged in your community:
- Case Study: Bone
- Texas ACLU Uncovers Multiple Challenges to Comics in 2013-2014
- CBLDF Board Member and Bone Creator Jeff Smith on Banned Books Week
- CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook!
- Raising a Reader! How Comics and Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids Love to Read!