Sunday, March 9, 2014

Discussing Banned and Challenged Books is Not Only for September

I realize that Banned Book Week every September is important to keep this important issue in front of the public.  But it's also necessary to discuss issues like censorship year round as well.

Banned booked are books that have actually been removed from a library or school system, a challenged book is the attempt to ban. Read about these challenged books and authors, including Katherine Paterson, Madeleine L'Engle, James Marshall, Roald Dahl and more.

Most of these books listed below were challenged for being sexually explicit, containing offensive language, or being unsuitable for the age group, and most were challenged because they were included on a suggested reading list for students, part of a class assignment, or available in a school library.  However, many of these books have received high accolades for teaching tolerance and understanding of others.  According to the ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano:

banned books weekNot every book is right for every person, but providing a wide range of reading choices is vital for learning, exploration, and imagination. The abilities to read, speak, think, and express ourselves freely are core American values.

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees our right to free speech, which includes the right to read and write books that might be considered by some to be too violent or offensive. Because this freedom is one of our fundamental rights as Americans, some people feel that any form of censorship is wrong. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, believing that people should be free to read whatever they choose, but that in some rare instances censorship is acceptable.

Have a look at a partial list of banned books below.  I think you will be surprised at the extent of them.  

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time by Mark Haddon
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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