Thursday, September 14, 2006

Banned Book Week - September 23 - 30, 2006

Would our world be a better place if you were prevented from reading The Diary of Anne Frank? What about To Kill A Mockingbird? Could we function as loyal Americans if we did not have access to George Orwell's 1984? There are people that want to remove these and other books from schools and libraries.

Banned Books Week poster ceated by student artist
Camden Forgia from Arizona State University.

The American Library Association's Banned Book Week calls attention to books that have been challenged or removed from libraries because a person, a group or an organization found the book to be obscene, salacious or have the ability to generate subversive thoughts.

These are the same books that have educated, inspired and guided generations to greater understanding of ourselves and each other. To get you up to speed here are a few places to visit to help you learn, discuss and help educate others on the importance of protecting books.

ALA has a page on their site that contains information about Banned Book Week where you can download flyers, read the FAQ page and listen to an audio public service announcement. Also, check with your local library, they might have an event that you can attend or participate.

ALA also has a page on book burning, sadly this is happening even in the 21st century.

Google Book Search has a list of the 100 most challenged or banned books. I prefer to see the list as a starting point for essential reading -

For those of you who work with kids or in classroom situations Read Write Think has a page of lesson plans, activities and resources to get the little one connected with books.


lisa fischelis said...

Banned book week has always intrigued me - It amazing to me that some people are so afraid of what is written. It is also bizarre that the same book can be banned by people on both sides of an isssue. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is one such book. Anyone know why?

Mary Ann said...

Hi lisa...This is a great site on banned books:
Mary Ann

banned books online

In Mark Twain's lifetime, his books Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were excluded from the juvenile sections of the Brooklyn Public library (among other libraries), and banned from the library in Concord, MA, home of Henry Thoreau. In recent years, some high schools have dropped Huckleberry Finn from their reading lists, or have been sued by parents who want the book dropped. In Tempe, Arizona, a parent's lawsuit that attempted to get the local high school to remove the book from a required reading list went as far as a federal appeals court in 1998. (The court's decision in the case, which affirmed Tempe High's right to teach the book, has some interesting comments about education and racial tensions.) The Tempe suit, and other recent incidents, have often been concerned with the use of the word "nigger", a word that also got Uncle Tom's Cabin challenged in Waukegan, Illinois. For a comprehensive web site describing attempts to ban Huckleberry Finn and other Twain works, see the site Huckleberry Finn Debated, by Jim Zwick.