Banned Books Week 2019 has come to an end. I talked about this event and introduced my personal reading challenge in this post, and now it’s time to talk about the books I was able to read from September 22nd – 28th (listed in order of first finished to most recent).
Banned Books Week is almost upon us (September 22nd – 28th). This year, I want to actively participate in “highlight[ing] the value of free and open access to information” as well as show my “support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas”.
Could L be for anything else but Libraries?
Happy Wednesday, friends! I wanted to take a few minutes to help spread the word about National Readathon Day – which takes place this Saturday, May 21st. If you know about it, share your plans and any extra information below in the comments, and if you are just hearing about it, here is a quick introduction.
A partnership between the American Library Association (ALA) and Penguin Random House, National Readathon Day is an opportunity to raise funds for and promote early childhood literacy through the ALA’s Every Child Ready to Read Initiative. The funds raised will specifically aid library programs aimed at literacy development of children five years and younger across the country.
There are a few fun ways to get involved, besides simply donating. Visit the ALA’s Facebook page to learn how you can use their temporary profile picture frame, and share what you are reading by using the hashtag #Readathon2016. You can also host a reading party with friends, a book club, or classmates. And of course, you should read! My list is ready to go (including titles I need to finish and/or revisit for the blog) and as long as Saturday is sunny and warm I’ll be celebrating Readathon 2016 outside.
So spread the word about National Readathon Day, support children’s literacy programs in libraries (and elsewhere), and consider donating on Saturday. Happy reading!
*Happy* Banned Books Week! I put asterisks around Happy because the phrasing seems a little adverse, although it is appropriate because of its purpose. The observance of Banned Books Week was created in 1982 as a response to the overwhelming surge of literary censorship. Since then, over 11,000 books have been challenged because of “unsuitable” or “offensive” content. The American Library Association (ALA) receives reports of attempts to censor or ban books and uses the information to inform readers and the public of such controversies and to further promote informational access.
“Okay,” you may be saying, “but censorship violates my right, authors’ rights of freedom of speech. You know, a basic amendment right. That can’t be happening today.” Sentences one and two of that statement is correct! However, some individuals, groups, or organizations are still disagreeing with views and/or ideas presented within the pages of books (like cultural allusions, offensive language, and more), and are trying to eliminate access – through censorship or trying to have books removed from a library or bookstore – because those views and ideas go against their own beliefs. Yes, this still happens. It’s not something of the past, and it surely isn’t going away in the future. However, the ALA strenuously works to protect the rights of librarians, teachers, students, and others to make sure freedom of speech and information access is upheld. Who exactly is challenging those rights of ours? You may be surprised to find out that since 1990, more parents have overwhelmingly challenged literary content than any other group.
So, there’s a little background into censorship and the reasons behind the creation and importance of Banned Books Week. It’s about awareness, promotion, and of course, reading. Remember, just because certain individuals or groups believe certain information shouldn’t be shared or published, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have access to that very information.
Have you ever read a book that has been constantly challenged or maybe even censored? A few infmaous titles that are frequently challenged or have been banned include (but are certainly not limited to):
The Great Gatsby – John F. Fitzgerald
Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The Call of the Wild – Jack London
Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
The Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling
And, one of the most ironic, Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
I urge you to continue spreading the word about Banned Books Week, in order to further show your support for literature, libraries, writers, imagination, ideas, words, as well as access to them. I know this post is quite link heavy, but I promise there is valuable information behind the links. So get informed, share your experience(s) with a banned or challenged book (and any resources you have found!), and get reading!
Be sure to check out bannedbooksweek.org and ala.org/bbooks for more information on banned books and your right to access information and read (and if you’re looking for some more fun with Banned Books Week, check out this crossword puzzle from Penguin Random House).