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Welcome back to another Banned Books Week post! Today I’ll be highlighting Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson.
I read this book maybe a year or two ago and was intrigued by the characters as well as the overall plot. Monday’s Not Coming follows our protagonist, Claudia, as she deals with the trauma of her best friend, Monday, suddenly going missing. We learn more about their relationship and Monday’s family history as Claudia tries to figure out what happened to her best friend.
Monday’s Not Coming has been banned and challenged in various states such as Texas, Virginia (the linked article is an opinion piece from a student’s dad), and Utah. The reasons for these challenges mainly revolve around its explicit language about sex. Although this is in the book, there is much more context around these scenes than simply being a sex scene, as it highlights teenagers’ pressures and struggles regarding sex (even then, there is a warning label that the book is only appropriate for students 14 years and older). The book itself also doesn’t revolve around sex, as it is about Claudia’s investigation into the disappearance of Monday and the toll it takes on her mental health. Monday’s Not Coming is thought provoking and provides an opportunity for teens to explore so many topics such as mental health, friendship, relationships and yes, even ideas surrounding sex.
I want to share an interview PBS published with Shekema Silveri, the Founder and Executive Director of the IFE Academy of Teaching & Technology, a K-12 independent micro school in Atlanta, Georgia. Although the interview is about Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Silveri’s discussion highlights one of the main points of why book challenges/bans harm students. Although these books may have topics that are ugly and difficult to discuss, they are a safe environment for students to explore these topics. As Silveri states in her PBS interview,
Kids who come back from college tell me that my class feels more of a cultural studies class than an English class. The way I teach is that we explore the world, and literature is the artifact. In my classroom, the novels are not the be all to end all. The novels are what we use to examine the culture that we currently find ourselves in.
No parent, teacher, or legal guardian can shield kids from the real world for their entire lives. As important as it is for kids to be kids, it’s just as vital for them to learn that not everyone’s life is the same and that we all experience different things, both good and bad. The only thing book challenges do is make it more difficult for the students who aren’t easily able to buy these books to be able to read and experience these stories themselves.
Before I sign off, I want to add that if you like Monday’s Not Coming and/or Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing in general, her newest book, The Weight of Blood, came out recently! It’s a horror book about prom, so perfect for the upcoming Halloween season🎃
Have you read Monday’s Not Coming? What are your thoughts on the book and it’s reasons for being banned/challenged? Let me know in the comments below!
And on that note, I will see you in the next post!
P.S. I wanted to make a note specifically about the Utah case, as the challenge made here goes against the policy where the challenged book (in this case, books) is still available to students during the process. In this particular instance, however, the books were promptly removed from the shelves.