Banned and Challenged Books Week starts Sunday September 30th and runs through October 6th. This year marks the 30th anniversary of our national book community’s celebration of the freedom to read and draw attention to the harm censorship causes (ala.org).
Books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information. Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. (via ala.org)
For some, reading a banned or challenged book is giving a censor the finger, an act of rebellion against an oppressor. It feels good. Another reason may be to satisfy a curiosity or indulge in a personal challenge to explore another’s ideas, after all “it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it” (Aristotle). One reason is to show an author support, as well as the writing community as a whole. We want to show them that value their form of expression, that we value ourselves. Having a choice is important. Having access is important. Censorship denies the individual these things. By reading a banned or challenged book, we are demanding our right to choose and our right to access. By not keeping the covers of these books closed, we are saying, too, that we are not going to close our eyes, we are not going to close our mouths and we are not going to close our minds.
I think N is hunting down a copy of Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher. She was intrigued by the excerpts used in her Language Arts class this year, by Crutcher’s writing style. I’ve yet to decide what I am going to read, but there is hardly a shortage of options. The book of James in the Bible has been on my mind of late, both challenging me and encouraging me, and goodness knows the Bible qualifies as Challenged, Banned and Burned. There is little doubt I will read some Shel Silverstein, too–very likely N and I together as he makes us laugh and N reads Silverstein aloud in such an enjoyable way.
Do you have particular books in mind?
If you post a review, I would like to host a list of books reviewed this year (and maybe past years) on my wrap-up or on a single page (above) so I will be looking for links! I don’t expect everyone’s experience with their read will be a good one, so a negative yet critical review is most certainly welcome as well. If you would like to write about your experience(s) or review a book for Banned Book Week and need a venue, let me know and I will likely host you.