Celebrate Banned Books Week

I haven’t read The Handmaid’s Tale yet, but this is a great little review… and the reminder that Banned Books are not a thing of the past.

The Bubble Bath Reader

Banned Books

Did you know that this week is the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week? Some people laugh when they hear a reference to banned books. They think, “Well, thank goodness we don’t do that anymore!” Here is the scary thing – communities may not be turning out to burn books in the town square these days, but there is still a surprisingly vocal contingent of people who want to ban books. According to the National Coalition Against Censorship, there is currently a proposal in Virginia that would require parents to be notified if required reading in their children’s classes covered “sensitive” material. In Pennsylvania, teachers have been instructed to indicate if books in their classroom libraries contain “violence or sexual content” or “racial, ethnic, or religious material” that might be considered offensive. A local school board in Missouri has just removed Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five from their school libraries…

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Banned Books Week: “The Most Famous Challenged and Banned Books” Event

“Fun facts aside, Dr. Hutchings’ thesis was, “It’s never about what it’s actually about.” You have to ask the question, “Who is trying to keep what out of the hands of whom, and for what reason?” ”
A great reflection on what sounds like an excellent talk about book banning!

Hannah Reads Books

banned-books-imageIn the interest of time, instead of a book profile today, I’ve got an event to talk about! “The Most Famous Challenged and Banned Books” was a talk given by Dr. William Hutchings of the UAB Department of English at one of my local libraries. The audience was about twenty to twenty-five people of mature years. I was the youngest there by about thirty years. So, huzzah for all you older folk turning out to support the freedom to read! Dr. Hutchings teaches on British drama, but taught a special topics class on censorship last year. This event was an hour-long survey of the history of book bans, with some pretty fun stuff in there.

  • Plato wanted to keep poets out of his republic because they were liars.
  • In 1958, there was a big stink here in Alabama over The Rabbit’s Wedding, a picture book featuring a bunny with white fur marrying a bunny…

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Banned Books Week: Blog Party

Yes! I have been very challenged by one of the reasons many of the books have been Challenged or Banned being “unsuited for age group.” I read “Little Woman” when I was in elementary school, it had a lasting impact on me and helped solidify my love of reading. What if someone had decided that this book shouldn’t be in a K-6 library? Or the librarian had told little 3rd or 4th grade me that I was too young to read it? What is someone had thought that Beth’s death (so sad…oh so sad), or the references to war, or talk of religion, were not appropriate for me to read? That’s just one of many books I read that were, perhaps “unsuited for my age group,” but were NOT unsuited for me. As is said in this excellent post, “Blanket bans are not the answer.”

Jedi by Knight

It’s Banned Books Week!  Sponsored by the ALA and other groups, this annual event celebrates the “freedom to read.”  Come join in with the Banned Books Blog Party hosted by hannahgivens at Things Matter.

bannedbooksweek2

The most frequently challenged books of the past year (2013) were:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking…

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