It’s the end of September, and that means it’s time for Banned Books Week 2013!
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association, and it is a celebration of intellectual freedom. Teachers, librarians, publishers, readers, writers, students, and booksellers all come together to celebrate books that have been challenged or banned in the past.
It’s no secret that I’m an advocate for banned and challenged books. Nothing hurts my little heart more than denying the public access to information. I desire to be a member of an informed, enlightened, educated society. This week I’ll be highlighting some new material related to book challenges, including a review of a very edgy little book that I read this summer that might catch the eyes of censors upon its US release this fall.
This year I’ll be bringing you a little more of the “why?!” of book banning and I’ll dig a little little deeper into the topic to argue that we need to be actively involved in celebrating books of all varieties, even the ones that make us uncomfortable. I will convince you to seek and read previously challenged books, and show you why exposure is far more effective than censorship. I share some of my research and understandings of why this is such an important issue in education, and why you should care.
To start, I highly recommend that you read this PDF from the American Library Association giving a bibliography of the 2012-2013 Banned/Challenged Books Shortlist. Their introduction to the list is superb (it inspired a “hell yeah!” from me) and, as always, the list of books is intriguing. A highlight included the challenge of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, one of my favorite books, at a high school in my (former) hometown (they won the battle and retained the book).
What do you have planned for Banned Books Week? Which books on this year’s list shocked/intrigued you?