Thursday, August 07, 2008

Banned Books Week

The American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the American Library Association have launched a website to promote the freedom to read:
Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Started in 1982, Banned Books Week was launched to draw attention to the growing number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Banned Books Week is held in the last week of September and is sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), and the National Association of College Stores. Banned Books Week is also endorsed by the Center for the Book of the Library of Congress.

Books have long been censored for the ideas and words they contain. Often, book challenges were based on religious grounds and included censorship of seminal works such as Martin Luther's translation of the Bible, and the Talmud. In modern times, books are challenged on a variety of grounds including language, race and ethnicity, violence, sex and sexuality, and religion. Challenged books include works by Voltaire, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Flaubert, Hemingway, Nabokov, Twain, and Fitzgerald, to name a few, as well as contemporary works by authors such as Toni Morrison, Julia Alvarez, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, Chris Crutcher, and Judy Blume. J.D. Rowling's popular Harry Potter series has faced numerous challenges for "occult" themes. Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men is banned frequently for objections to language. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell has topped the ALA's list of Frequently Challenged Books for two years because the book tells the true story of two male penguins from New York City's Central Park Zoo who parented a chick together.
This year Banned Books Week will be September 27 - October 4. Celebrate by reading a banned book.

via The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression


  1. I made a stink in high school for choosing a banned book for a semester essay project.

    I'm not one to make a fuss but I got a wild hair about some recently banned books from Texas schools and a recent book burning they had a few counties over.

    Turns out my little 65 year old lady English teacher had a wild hair about it too so she stuck up for me and got me a copy of Catcher in the Rye herself and told me that the school could go "f*** themselves"

  2. Fahrenheit 451 has been banned in several places. I'm not sure whether thats funny or sad.