The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame. - Oscar Wilde
Banned Books Week is September 25 through October 2. It seems to me that the topic of censorship is what one would read in the news about countries like China, Iran or South Korea. It’s shocking to me that fellow Americans in the year 2010 are still trying to ban books.
According to the ACLU site:
“Banned Books Week is an annual event started by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982. This week-long event, held during the last week of September, raises awareness of freedom of speech through celebrating challenged books and the value of free expression.
A book is “challenged” when a person or group objects to the materials and attempts to remove or restrict their accessibility. A book is “banned” when this removal is successful.
Thanks to the work of libraries and the ACLU, most book challenges are now unsuccessful.”
“Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same" is the theme this year. I think it’s a good one. Nothing irritates me more than for someone to read a book and then tell me I shouldn’t have the same privilege because they found something offensive in the material. It’s even more insulting when people object simply by what they hear about a book without bothering to read it. In my opinion, if something in a book offends someone, he/she has every right to put the book down, but not the right to tell me that I can’t pick it up.
Some people believe they are protecting our children by banning books with controversial topics, foul language and sexual topics. However, I don’t think these people give kids enough credit for being able to think logically and for their ability to identify right from wrong. Age appropriate discussions about the book or a particular scene seem much better than hoping to keep a child in the dark all her life by pretending certain situations don’t exist.
According to a csmonitor.com article, “Banned Books Week 2010: Which books drew the most fire last year?” more than half of banned book challenges in 2009 came from Texas and Pennsylvania. The article goes on to say:
“In the two decades the ALA has been keeping track, parents have been responsible for 48 percent of all challenges. The most common reason: sexual explicitness (33 percent), followed by offensive language (26 percent), and material “unsuited to age group” (21 percent).
While efforts to ban books are decreasing overall – between 2004 and 2009 the ALA received 21 percent fewer reports than a decade before – Banned Books Week highlights that controversies over public access to books and First Amendment rights are alive and well throughout the United States.”
The banned book list for 2010 won’t be complied until next year. The usual books like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird are once again on the challenged list. Here are a few others that might surprise you.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
The Tortilla Curtain - T. Coraghessan Boyle
Running with Scissors – Augustan Burroughs
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America – Barbara Ehrenreich
And Tango Makes Three – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (This is a picture book based on a true story about a pair of male penguins in a zoo who nurture an egg together).
For more on this topic you might want to visit:
10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week
The American Library Association, Celebrating the Freedom to Read
How do you plan to celebrate Banned Books Week? If you plan on reading a banned book, which one will you choose?
Thanks for stopping by today. I hope to see you again next Monday.
Tags: Oscar Wilde, banned books, banned books week, challenged books,