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They're Challenging Reading Challenges?

Ya Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!

By Judey Kalchik Published 3 months ago Updated 3 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - January 2024

In 1961 the town of Tarzana, California pulled a book off of the city library shelves as it was deemed unsuitable for children. The offense was clear: the story, one of a group of adventures, featured a couple clearly living in sin: Tarzan and Jane.

There was no evidence that their cohabitation benefited from appropriately recognized marital vows. (Although the author's estate explained that the 'bride's father' had had served as a minister...)

Although Florida has long been lauded as progressive and forward-thinking (cough* cough*), the news last week came that the Dictionary has been 'pulled pending formal review' from schools because it contains words that pertain to sex.

Please note: Florida is VERY careful not to state that this, and other books waiting for formal review are 'banned'. They merely "must be removed within 5 school days of receipt of the objection, and cannot be returned to shelves until it is reviewed". So, NOT banned. Just removed, unavailable, and inaccessible. Thank heaven's for spell-check, amiright?

Amazingly, Florida is not the first state to pull this stunt. Many readers of this article may not have been alive when it first happened, but in 1987 the school administrators in the Anchorage Alaska School Board banned the American Heritage Dictionary due the its slang sexual entries such as "bed," "knocker" and "balls." So, perhaps unsurprisingly, Florida is again lagging behind the trailer of societal horror of verbose sexual perversion... or maybe not.

In 1977 the children's book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was banned. The book about Sylvester, a donkey that wished for the impossible, was urged by the police associations in 12 states to be banned because it portrayed the police characters as pigs.

If you don't know this story, you can enjoy it here, read courtesy of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation:

* Sigh* Some days I JUST CAN'T EVEN HANDLE IT!

And now? And now comes Canada.


The most even-tempered and let's-get-along of all of the North Americas: Canada is challenging-not books!- but the time-honored New Year Reading Resolutions, specifically the ones that put a goal on the number of books a user has or intends to read. Really--- I kid you not.

Tapping into TikTok, where all of the very best information in the world is freely shared in convenient soundbite accompanied by incongruous music, the CBC News shares that reading challenges and the posting of the number of books the participant reads, can make people that don't read as much or struggle in reading UNMOTIVATED or FEEL BAD about themselves. Inadequate and Overwhelmed is how my Northerly-Neighbors described it.

Please. Really. Please.

We here in the U.S. already have our hands full down here. Let me have some fun and a feeling of accomplishment as I update my goal of reading 52 books this year on Goodreads. It's an election year for us in the U.S.

Can we just get through the sturm und drang of the elections without the additional pressure that we are making Canadians depressed, too?

Find a Challenge You Like!

There are many many many Reading Challenges that will make ANY reader feel accomplished and special (looking at you, my sensitive and thoughtful Canadian neighbors). Here are some you may enjoy.

The Alternate to Goodreads: The StoryGraph

Some readers want to support Indie bookstores, you know: keep their friends and neighbors employed in local businesses and not buy books from a website named after a the AM$$)N River. If that is you, check out The StoryGraph.

It's free, gives you reading suggestions, has community involvement, and also posts giveaways for FREE books. And there are reading challenges.

This is my favorite list of random reasons to pick up a book (let me know in the comments which number you like best... and do you have a book in mind from the participant-created titles?)

Cats. Cats in Books. Cats on Books. Cats.

This is a challenge that's been ongoing for eight years. The challenge is to read mysteries with cats as the main characters. I caution you: there are more of these than you think. I guarantee it. The creator of the challenge is going for an easily achievable 10 books, and you can find out more through this link.

Tip of the Iceberg

I could go on and on (and on and on), but that will cut into YOUR book reading time. Instead, here's a handy dandy 2024 alphabetical List of reading challenges for kids and adults. It even has TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube Challenges for reading, too.

A Little Freebie for You (But don't tell Florida, m'kay?)

In case you, like some of the students in Florida, don't have access to a printed book filled with words and definitions: here's something that could come in handy.


Comments are always welcome and (more often than not) actually much appreciated.

RecommendationReading ListReading Challenge

About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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Comments (20)

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  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    JBaz is so right, the more we change......remember when we burned witches and books. Is it that every so often we run out of ideas and return to the old ways. I figure they would rather take on Netflix and other sites with all the porn and violence. But to each his own. I am just happy we still have libraries, mine is having a small revolution about this whole book thing. Bored people, maybe we just need some distractions.

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    Whatever happened to the phrase ‘Reading is fundamental’ ? All of the critics have somehow turned it into ‘Reading is detrimental’ shame, shame shame. Thank you for sharing another great article that can easily be turned into a Barbra Walters special!

  • Gerard DiLeo3 months ago

    Feeling the sturm und bracing against the drang... For every definition of correctness, there's a different way to get woke. Anything gone too far is a nightmare. Stay awake, but embrace the dreams. Great write!

  • Paul Stewart3 months ago

    Did I just read all of that correctly? Banning the dictionary because it features words pertaining to sex? (part of any kid's sex ed...but that's another point for another story) lol. And...Canada moaning about reading challenges? Is that not like me saying reading about some marathon runner running a hundred marathons in a year makes me feel unmotivated to go out for a walk? It's stupid. If people truly feel unmotivated by how much other people are reading and making note of it...that is on them,...not the person doing their own damn thing. Congrats on this getting Top Story - it's important and you wrote the hell out of it with wit and passion, Judey!

  • Aaliyah Madison3 months ago

    Congratulations to TS

  • Andrew Zuk3 months ago

    Congratulations 🎉🎉🎉💗

  • Kenny Penn3 months ago

    Oh man and here I was considering moving to Canada. lol great article as usual Judey. I gotta check out this cat reading challenge…

  • Phil Flannery3 months ago

    What the hell is going on up there. I mean we have our right wing fascists rabbiting on about this and that, and as much as I hate to admit this, remember Rupert Murdoch was one of ours and his organisation is behind a lot of the idiocy that goes on in the US. Dumb down the nation is their motto.

  • Mark Coughlin3 months ago

    Can't have people know too much. They might start thinking for themselves! Interesting article, and good ideas for challenges!

  • Babs Iverson3 months ago

    Excellent article & insightful & interesting too!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!💕❤️❤️

  • Judah LoVato3 months ago

    Very good article! The comment on cat books made me think of "The Cat Who..." Series!

  • J. Delaney-Howe3 months ago

    We have a library in our county that features banned books. Its a slippery slope, thats for sure. Congrats on the Top Story!

  • One page with pigs--& they're doing all they can to be helpful!!!!!!! Egads! I always appreciated when Pizza Hut had summer reading programs for kids who could earn free personal pan pizzas. (Our son did, too.)

  • Stephanie Hoogstad3 months ago

    Books have been challenged for a long time. The American Library Association has a list that they update every year of the most challenged books in the United States as well as a week dedicated to challenged and banned books. I hate that it’s a thing, but it is. Banning reading challenges, though, is a new level of ridiculous. I am all for trying to make sure that everyone is motivated to read, but making it so that people can’t do book challenges will make it so that more people will do less reading, not the other way around. Thank you for this very informative and well written article, and congrats on the Top Story.

  • Congratulations on your forthcoming top Story for this excellent piece. The sole purpose of stopping people from reading is to stunt their education and stop them from questioning authority, we have seen how that works

  • Cathy holmes3 months ago

    It's absolutely ridiculous, and I'm surprised nobody here is talking about. This is the first I'm hearing of it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Atomic Historian3 months ago

    Rage Against the Machine, removing books, something something

  • JBaz3 months ago

    The more we change the more we stay the same Sad but true

  • Lana V Lynx3 months ago

    Someone may feel uneasy or inadequate because other people challenge others to read more books? This is the level of ridiculousness that I never thought we'd come down to.

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