Wouldn’t it be nice for a year to come around and the American Library Association would say, “No Banned Books Week! Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”?
But 2014 is not that year, and so once again, it’s time to spotlight this freedom-to-read-what we-want issue. Here’s a bit of good news, though, from the ALA site:
“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.”
If you check out the lists of banned books, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised. Some of my favorite books are on that list, books that informed me in ways I could never have dreamed possible. Books that opened my mind and heart to that far beyond my little scope of the world–or what was happening right in front of me:
To Kill a Mockingbird
The Color Purple
Brave New World
Their Eyes Were Watching God
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
I could add more but I think you see where I’m going here. Join me in giving a shout out to your favorite banned book this week. And just because I know Dav Pilkey’s hilarious, and that his books have pulled in many a young reluctant reader, I’m going to cheer for Captain Underpants.
Who’s with me?
How sad the list still exists..
There is good news, though. Two books on your list (To Kill a Mockingbird and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) are assigned readings in my grandson’s high school.
Oh, that just makes my day, Donna! Sherman Alexie is a gifted storyteller!
Anything by Sherman Alexie (yah–Donna’s grandson’s school!) is good and certainly doesn’t deserve to be banned.
The Kite Runner. The Lovely Bones. The Things They Carried. Three of my favorites. What a shame that people, instead of choosing not to read a book–did they even read these books before they had a snit fit over them?–choose to try to prevent others from reading it.
Sioux, you make an excellent point! I’m convinced that people who want to censor a particular book rarely READ the book!
The Kite Runner…such a powerful story. And thanks for mentioning The Things They Carried–I need to add that to my TBR list!
Beloved. I wish I could write like Toni Morrison. Her books leave a long lasting impression.
To write like Toni Morrison should be the name of a song, Linda. 🙂 Yes, Beloved has stayed with me over the years…
Don’t believe it is any coincidence that the books that are most often banned are the ones that provide the most food for thought. Heaven forbid we should think about what we read. And for pity’s sake, don’t offend anyone! I read recently that Elie Wiesel’s “Night” has been banned in many schools because it contains material that might be considered too strong for students and thus offensive. Of course it’s offensive. The Holocaust was offensive. Our kids can’t stop learning just because the truth isn’t pretty. So. Frustrating.
Couldn’t have said it better myself, Lisa.