Celebrate Your Freedom to Read

19 Sep

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell

Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I wanted to take up some space on my blog today to get the word out about an event I feel is extremely important. Considering the impact that the upcoming presidential election could have on censorship, it’s crucial to remember the principles of freedom guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.

The books listed above represent a tiny sample of the books that have been challenged or banned in the United States from 2007-2008. Other titles challenged in the past have included Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, and Shel Silverstein’s poetry volumes, A Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

Every year since 1982 the American Library Association, the Office of Intellectual Freedom, and countless publishing and bookselling organizations have sponsored Banned Books Week. This event takes place from September 27 to October 4th this year and reminds Americans not to take our freedom to read for granted.

“Banned books week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.” (ALA Website)

Although hundreds of books are challenged every year, most are not banned due to the efforts of librarians and concerned citizens who recognize the importance of upholding this essential freedom of choice. The ALA reminds us, “Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.”

There are many ways to support banned books week, such as checking out a favorite challenged or banned book from your local library or supporting local librarians if you hear about a challenge in your area. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper reminding readers to support the free exchange of ideas and materials. For other ways to celebrate your freedom, click on the image below.

Remember, “closing books shuts out ideas.” Support Banned Books Week!

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