Banned Books Week
Every year, at the end of September, the ALA declares Banned Books Week. This is chosen to highlight the many books that have been banned or challenged, either by the state, or that have been removed from libraries due to complaints.
These days, Banned Books Week is under attack but those who say it is a fraud and not legitimate. They don't believe that a book being removed from a library is banning that book. Whatever words you couch it in, it is still censorship.
Censorship should be of concern to everyone; no one should denied access to the right to read any book they wish. It is fine if you don't think a book is appropriate for your child to read; it is not fine for you do decide what is appropriate for other people's children.
The reasons for banning and/or challenging books are varied, although charges of racism, homosexuality and sexually explicit content seem to be the most common.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
This is an autobiography by Maya Angelou.
This book was challenged on the basis of being sexually explicit. In the book, Angelou describes being raped by her mother's live-in boyfriend when she was eight-years-old.
To Kill a Mockingbird
This novel by Harper Lee is constantly being challenged on the claim that it promotes racism.
This could not be further from the truth. The main characters in this novel are not racists; they are fighting against a racist society. Yes, some characters are racist...but they are portrayed as the bad guys. Like it or not, American society was like that at one time. People used, and still use, racist terms. That is no reason to ban a book or to avoid reading it.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
This novel by Mark Twain is often challenged due to the racist themes and the use of the "n" word.
At the time this novel takes place and was written, institutionalized racism was the norm in the American South. Even the main protagonist in the novel, Huckleberry Finn, uses racist language.
However, at the end Huck and his friend Tom fight to save their friend, a slave named Jim. The aim of the author was not to promote racism but to describe the life of a young boy in the American South.
A lot of books have been banned due to their use of certain terms or language. More often than not, people see one offensive word or event and assume the entire story is that way. Many times they have never read the book at all and are just going on what they have heard or read elsewhere.
As a child, I was allowed to choose the books I wanted to read. This taught me how to think for myself and to make my own decisions about what I read.
I will never accept the idea that you must stop ideas, certain language, or certain political beliefs from being aired just because they may offend someone.
2012 is the 30th anniversary of Banned Book Week. It has never been more important what with the rewriting of classics, the editing of history books to misrepresent the past and what seems the total lack of interest some have in literature.
- Forbidden Library
This site features books some people consider "dangerous.