Celebrate Banned Books Week: Read One!

It’s the first day of Banned Book Week and I suggest you go out and read one from the list, if not from this year’s list, any year’s list.  If you are a reader, you probably already have read a couple, so loan your copy to a friend or family member.

Undoubtedly, most of the requests for removal of the books are from parents who are wanting to protect their children from subjects they deem inappropriate.  No one is going to fault a parent for monitoring what their children read, but trying to remove it so no one can read it is going too far.  The American Library Association approaches it with this simple statement:

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

Top ten most frequently challenged books of 2010

1.  “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, which is a true story about two male penguins at the Central Park Zoo adopting and raising a chick.

Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

2.  “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, which is about a teenage Native American boy who lives in poverty and goes to school off of his reservation.

Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

3.  “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley, which is about a futuristic world.

Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit

4.  “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins, which is about a teenage girl who becomes a drug addict.

Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit

5.  “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, which is about kids who are forced to fight each other to the death.

Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

6. “Lush” by Natasha Friend, which is about a 13-year-old girl whose father is an alcoholic.

Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

7.  “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones, which is about a boy-crazy teenage girl.

Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

8.  “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich, which is about living off of minimum wage.

Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint

9.  “Revolutionary Voices” edited by Amy Sonnie, which is an anthology of essays by queer youth.

Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit

10.  “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer, which is about a teenage girl who falls in love with a vampire.

Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

BannedBooksWeek.org has launched a Youtube channel compiling “virtual read outs” of people reading passages from their favorite banned book.  Click around on a few and discover a new book or reconnect with an old friend.  I have included some of the clips I found the most inspiring below.

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