September 24th – October 1st is Banned Books Week. That’s b-a-n-n-e-d, not “band books” on musical instruction or the latest Maroon 5 bio. The American Library Association (ALA) dubs Banned Books Week as “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.” This week “highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States.”
Why would anyone want to ban a book? You might ask. Justifications range from teaching children disobedience to portraying homosexual lifestyles to using offensive language, and much, much more. Included in the top 100 banned/challenged books for the 20th Century are the following:
- The Great Gatsby
- The Catcher in the Rye
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Of Mice and Men
- Gone with the Wind
- The Call of the Wild
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Heard of these? I thought so. It also seems the best way to make a book a best-seller is to ban it! Read more about their banning here.
More recently published titles banned or challenged include: Hunger Games, The Kite Runner, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Twilight, Harry Potter, And Tango Makes Three, ttyl, and Captain Underpants, to name a few.
To celebrate the freedom to read I’ve added a clip to ALA’s YouTube channel of myself reading from Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic, which was challenged for teaching disobedience to children, mentioning ghosts, and presenting unrealistic consequences for not getting your way. (BTW, not everyone can have a pony.)
What will you read to celebrate?!