I Read Banned Books
“Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.” -American Library Association
I have to admit before I started book blogging, I had no idea that there were banned books! Yes, naive little me, still believed that we had something called the first amendment. You know the one, free exercise of religion, the right to a peaceful assembly and the most important one: the freedom of speech. Of course I should have known better!
Little did I know, I’m a reader of banned books! You might be a reader of banned books too! Here are a few titles that made the list and the reason. Please note that some of these titles were not banned, but challenged.
TTYL by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
Reasons: use of racial slurs and profanity
Looking For Alaska by John Green
Reasons: graphic language and sexual content
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Reasons: drug use and euthanasia of elderly and babies.
Sandpiper by Ellen Wittlinger
Reason: sexually explicit, offense language
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Reason: promotes Wicca religion
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Reason: content too frightening
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Reaons; racism and profanity
Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language
The Earth My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
I think that you’ve gotten the idea. Be aware that this is only a fraction of the books that made the lists. You might notice a common theme; racism, sexual content, graphic language and unsuitable for age group. I have to say that I agree with the ALA and their statement:
“Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.”
For more information on Banned Book Week events that are happening near you and what you can do to support Banned Book Week visit bannedbooksweek.org.
Exercise Your First Amendment Rights – Read a Banned Book!