Think censorship ended with the Banned in Boston days of James Joyce’s Ulysses and D. H. Lawrence‘s Lady Chatterley’s Lover? Think again. Censorship–or attempts to censor–are alive and well. Next week is Banned Books Week. Learn more about efforts to protect our freedom on this page (below) from the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read.
September 21−27, 2014 *
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read Foundation; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; PEN American Center and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.
* Page taken from the ALA web site.
What is your favorite banned book?
Oh my goodness! Having just followed the link in this post to “frequently challenged books,” I’m delighted to discover how many of the books on the banned list from 2000-2009 are on my best books of all time reading list. Not surprisingly, many of them are titles for young readers. What is surprising, however, is that the myopic souls who do the banning don’t even realize they are, in fact, promoting the very books they seek to keep out of young readers’ hands. I’m already an old reader, so I suppose they don’t care much about my reading tastes. Still, nothing makes me want to read a book more than someone’s attempt to keep me from it. I think my next self-challenge will be to read all the books on the list I haven’t already read. I can’t wait to pull out the young reader titles and share it with my 11 yr old granddaughter. She’s reading Olive’s Ocean right now, at my recommendation. I hope she chooses The Bridge to Terabithia next. What?! Harry Allard’s series of picture books about The Stupids, is on the list? That’s one of our family’s collective favorites of all time. Something hilarious in it for all ages. All I can say to those who would ban books like these is, “Bless your pitiful little hearts.”
Deb, go to the hyperlink “freedom to seek and to express ideas.” The article discusses how banned books are the very books that have shaped America–probably because they dared to challenge the status quo.