Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Book Week

It's Banned Book Week, people! From September 25 to October 1 it's time that we need to celebrate our 1st Amendment Rights freely read what we want to read (though we should do it every single day of our lives)! Every year books for children and adults face the risk of being challenged if they one small element that is not agreeable to one person or to a whole group. This when I truly love working in a public library where I can be surrounded by books that match the interest and beliefs of every one who have all types of walks of life. This does not mean that the library does not receive book challenges, but the right to Intellectual Freedom is on our side!

Check out the Office of Intellectual Freedom's video about the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged books of 2009. This is an excellent and simple video to illustrate what is being challenged:

Want to learn more about Banned Book Week? Check out the American Library Association (ALA) web pages that share all sorts of information about Intellectual Freedom and explore their lists of books that are challenged (and not necessarily banned). ALA tabulates the most challenged books every year. If you don't have the time to view the video above here what has made Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged books of 2009:
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Laurent Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoints, suicide, unsuited to age group

4.To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious veiwpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit unsuited to age group

1o. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

To learn how ALA tabulates these titles please visit their web page Frequently Challenged Books. Also, to learn about some of the reason and history of these books being challenged, ALA also has a page detailing the Reasons for Challenges to Classic Books like Catcher in the Rye.

Though technically many of the books listed in the past during Banned Book Week have only been challenged; however, you would be surprised or even intrigued that learn that many of the books appear on the lists do to it being banned in other countries or were burned either in the USA or during the Nazi book burnings.

The majority of the books challenged on this list as well as the ones that I have faced in my profession have been for teens of all ages and younger children. Just because one person does not agree what the story is about or how a situation handles, or how one family/neighborhood is portrayed in a book does not mean that it is completely fictional and needs to be challenged. There are so many walks a lives that all these books will be of interest and could create a connection to anyone and everyone.

Celebrate our freedom to read and READ A BANNED BOOK!

"Think for yourselves and let other enjoys the privilege to do so too" ~ Voltaire, Essay on Tolerance

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