Banned Book Week Eve

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Banned Books Week: September 25-October 2, 2010.

I was discussing Banned Books Week with the daughter over breakfast this morning. I was asking her if she would like to participate in some way, if she would like to read some challenged books as a matter of protest. “What books could I be reading?” Her eyes were narrowed,  but gleaming. She was also concerned–for my health. She knows I keep my whole left eye on what she reads. “Like a Wrinkle in Time.” N loves this L’Engle book. “What?!” she replies. I get on my phone to the ala.org site. “Many if not all Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, White’s Charlotte’s Web…the Bible.She has read quite a few challenged/banned books already. I pass her my phone where I’ve called up the Classics List.

We think, maybe, that she might be ready for The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. I’m also going to suggest we read Frances Hardinge’s Fly by Night together.

As for myself, not sure what I will read this year. There are, unfortunately, quite a few to choose from. Last year I finally read Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower–and wasn’t that fantastic! And I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451–which was less stellar, but appropriate subject matter.

I plan on browsing the lists, browsing the home shelves…told the daughter I would have a list for her to shop from by the time she was out of school today. And maybe we can talk more extensively as to why they were challenged. Will post our reading choices when they are made–and quick–tomorrow is the 25th!

Please make use of the American Library Association’s information and resources here, or connect with your local Library and find a way to participate. If you haven’t already!

Found this elegant argument in Robert P. Doyle’s 2009-2010 Banned Books Week campaign brochure and wanted to share it:

Each day, all across the country, one of our most basic freedoms—the right to read—is in danger. In communities large and small, censorship attempts every year threaten to undermine our freedom to read. Without our constant support, the First Amendment freedoms that we so often take for granted—the right to read, explore ideas, and express ourselves freely—are at risk.

The First Amendment guarantees that each of us has the right to express our views, including opinions about particular books. At the same time, the First Amendment also ensures that none of us has the right to control or limit another person’s ability to read or access information. Yet, when individuals or groups file formal written requests demanding that libraries and schools remove specific books from the shelves, they are doing just that—attempting to restrict the rights of other individuals to access those books.

The rights and protections of the First Amendment include children as well as adults. While parents have the right—and the responsibility—to guide their own children’s reading, that right does not extend to other people’s children. Similarly, each adult has the right to choose their own reading materials, along with the responsibility to acknowledge and respect the right of others to do the same.

When we speak up to protect the right to read, we not only defend our individual right to free expression, we demonstrate tolerance and respect for opposing points of view. And when we take action to preserve our precious freedoms, we become participants in the ongoing evolution of our democratic society.


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