Today marks the beginning of one of the very coolest weeks in the year. Banned Books Week is usually celebrated the last week in September this year it will be from September twenty-fourth to October 1st Banned Books Week. Which means that tomorrow is the very first day of Banned Books Week! (At least according to this website, it’s today for me and different for every other time zone.) I want to talk about this because I think it’s important to realize why books are banned/challenged and why they shouldn’t be.
It’s primarily a USA event but books all over the world have been banned/challenged. We in the USA believe that banning books conflicts with our first amendment:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
To me it’s also a lot like telling someone to shut up because you don’t like what they are saying. It’s rude, inconsiderate and certainly not right.
Sometimes the books are banned for well-thought out reasons. Such as violent or erotic scenes. However, there are often less extreme reasons. Such as the portrayal of how African Americans were treated in the earlier years of the United States and vulgar language.
There are a lot of rough books out there. Books I wouldn’t want any of my younger siblings to read. Books that I wouldn’t want to read myself! But shouldn’t the job of banning books be the job of the parent or the choice that you make yourself? I believe that no matter what the books might say there is no reason to ban a book. Perhaps saying that you may not require the book in a certain grade at school is alright but banning it from schools and, especially, libraries altogether (and definitely whole towns, states, or countries) is much too extreme. Sadly, it happens all the time and that is why Banned Books Week was started.
I challenge you this week to rebel and read a banned/challenged book (Note: Rebelling is normally a bad thing to do, so don’t try doing it for other things. Like breaking laws and such). As always, I suggest you try a Classic.
You can find the list of books and all the information here: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/index.cfm
Have a great Banned Books Week! Let us know what you read and what you thought about it.