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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week

It is the start of Banned Books Week, which raises awareness of challenged and banned books, and celebrates the freedom to read.

Public libraries are places for people of all walks of life to come together, and thus must cater to a wide range of interests, reading levels, and upbringings. What is right for one family might be offensive to another. The important thing is that public libraries do serve everyone and it is up to individuals to choose for themselves and their children what to read and watch, and not force their choices on the rest of population. To paraphase my father, if the library collection doesn't have some items that offend you and/or that you wouldn't want to read, then you aren't doing your job. Our freedom to choose what we want to read and to have access to it is one of the benefits of living in a democracy, and one that librarians continue to fight for.

From the ALA website here's the “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” which reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

The ten most frequently challenged authors of 2007:

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar

Some authors and their books that didn't make the list this year that are frequently challenged that you may have read:

J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter

Madeline L'Engle and Wrinkle in Time

C.S. Lewis and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Dav Pilkey and Captain Underpants

Katherine Paterson and Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins

Barbara Park and Junie B. Jones