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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

via bannedbooksweek.org
As a lifelong lover of books to the point that becoming a librarian might possibly be the path I'm meant to walk on, the idea of banning a book is incredibly frustrating to me.  As Bill Moyers, a journalist and the honorary co-chair of Banned Books Week, said in his video essay "The Bane of Banned Books," censorship is incredibly dangerous.  "Censorship is the enemy of truth," Moyers said, "even more than a lie.  A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference."  Click on the video below to see more of Moyers' video essay (by the way, I'm sorry it keeps autoplaying -- not sure how to stop it!).

Banned Books Week was set up as an annual celebration of the freedom to read, and this year, it is being held from September 30 to October 6.  You may think, "Isn't this issue a bit outdated?  This doesn't happen anymore."  But according to the Banned Books Week website, 326 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2011 -- 326 challenges to the freedom to read what we wish, when we wish, and how we wish.  The top ten challenges are listed below:

1.  ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2.  The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3.  The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4.  My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6.  Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7.  Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8.  What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9.  Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10.  To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

I am personally surprised to see that To Kill a Mockingbird is still being complained about, even though it was first published back in 1960.  It isn't the only classic that is constantly challenged, however;  hypable.com recently came out with a list of "10 Frequently Challenged Books and Why You Should Still Read Them" on their website listing books that consistently make the challenged books list.

It just goes to show that it is still so important that we remain aware of these challenges being made so we can fight this attack on personal freedom because it is still happening in our country as we speak.

Do you have a favorite banned book?  Are there books that you've read that you didn't even know were banned?



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