Banned Book Week

September 29th thru October  6th is Banned Book Week.

The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2006” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

  • “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;
  • “Gossip Girls” series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;
  • “Alice” series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;
  • “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;
  • “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;
  • “Scary Stories” series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;
  • “Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language.
  • “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
  • “Beloved” by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;
  • “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.

Off the list this year, but on for several years past, are the “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.

As sad as this is, I’ve only heard of one of those top ten challenged books for 2006. Fortunately I’ve never had issues with any of the books my children have read, but I have to say that I believe it is up to the parents to decide what books they do or do not wish their children to read. So does that mean we should rate books? If you purchase books online, they are rated 🙂 And the epublishers that I know keep their R rated material seperate from the non R material. I know that my daughter likes to read Inuyasha. I think it is too adult for her, but since she received it as a gift I skimmed it and handed it to her. She came across an instance where the one character said Hell as in a location, not cursing, so I explained to her that in that instance the word use was acceptable. I’m so glad she came to me and discussed the book, and I’m glad that she is aware that there are some things she should not read until she is older.

Here is something else I pulled from that site:

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT CENSORSHIP AT YOUR LIBRARY

Stay informed. If you read or hear about a challenge at your school or public library, support your librarian and free and open access to library materials. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates they learn of only 20 to 25 percent of book challenges. Let us know if there is a challenge in your community. Find out what the policy is for reviewing challenged materials at your school or public library. Join the Intellectual Freedom Action News (IFACTION) e-list.

Get involved. Go to school board meetings. Volunteer to help your local school or public library create an event that discusses the freedom to read and helps educate about censorship—maybe a film festival, a readout, a panel discussion, an author reading or a poster contest for children illustrating the concept of free speech.

Speak out. Write letters to the editor, your public library director and your local school principal supporting the freedom to read. Talk to your neighbors and friends about why everyone should be allowed to choose for themselves and their families what they read. Encourage your governor, city council and/or mayor to proclaim “Banned Books Week – Celebrating the Freedom to Read” in your state or community.

Exercise your rights! Check out or re-read a favorite banned book. Encourage your book group to read and discuss one of the books. Give one of your favorite books as a gift. The 100 most challenged books of the 1990s is a good resource!

Join the Freedom to Read Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to the legal and financial defense of intellectual freedom, especially in libraries. You can also support the cause by buying Banned Books Week posters, buttons and T-shirts online.

Agree with me or disagree with me, but I don’t want someone else telling me what I can and can’t read. If they do that, what will be next?

Kell

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