Friday, 2 October 2009

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week, a time to celebrate the freedom to read. There shouldn't be a need to have a Banned Books Week but unfortunately there are thousands of books that have been burned, banned and continue to get challenged by individuals, groups and governments that find them offensive.

The books we read expand our minds, and make us the people we are. Books have always been an important part of my life, I can still remember my dad reading me stories when I was small, some of the books have been challenged. Every Christmas and Birthday I would be more excited about the books I received than the toys and clothes I got. One Christmas my dad gave me a copy of A light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, I sat in a nest of torn wrapping paper and read my brand new book of poetry from cover to cover.

Literary exploration is so important, I read a book a night to my son, stories and poetry, including some of the very same books that my father gave me, books that have been Challenged, and Banned. I fear for the future, if these books that shaped me became banned and children and young adults the world over could not read them.

Books that have been Banned or Challenged at some point are not all masterful works of literature, but that is the magic of books and the stories they tell of history and unknown worlds to explore. I have read quite a few books on the Banned list, and not all of them I loved but they did make me think and I was glad to have read them.

The following list of some of the Banned Books I have read:
currently I'm reading 1984 by George Orwell for my Book Group, I have a huge stack of books to read though but I plan on getting a more Banned Books on the Book Group Reading list.

Question Authority and Read Banned Books!

a few links:
the ILA: Books Challenged and Banned in 2008 2009 a pdf
The American Library Association has a list of Banned and Challenged books
the School Collection list of Challenged Children's Books
Amazon list of recently Banned and Challenged Books
Amazon list of 100 Banned and Challenged Books


Flame said...

It frightens me the mentality of people who ban books.

I'm reading Farenheit 451 atm which makes the idea more real.

I couldn't believe it when I saw that Beloved was banned!!!

Jenny S said...

Its an awful shame that anyone would want to ban a book...

I'm particularly surprised Roald Dahl is on the list. They were my childhood favourite and I still adore them. I even remember my primary school's child safety booklets were written by him and the lessons worked wonderfully... I know why not to stick your head out of train window thanks to him :)

Anonymous said...

as al stewart would say, stone the flaming crows! i have read every book on that banned list several times and LOVED everyone.... so does that make me anarchist or do i just have good taste in literature??

Zoƫ said...

It is very worrying that this is still happening in the 21st century. I have read so many of these books. The only effect they have had on me is that I am now a librarian!

I read some of the reasons why people tried to have these books banned and it shows that they haven't read these books or if they have read them they have not understood them.

Here's to freedom for books!

Leanne said...

James and the Giant Peach! Really? I'm astounded.

trashalou said...

Seriously? 'Where the wild things are'?, The Little House series?. Wow!

Lisa-Marie said...

Clearly, the people who have banned these books are stupid. Of course, I can see why the government would want to ban Steinbeck during the Depression, as he writes about evenets in a very truthful and sometimes blunt way,but it should never have been allowed to happen! I love Stienbeck, Incase it wasn't obvious. I think that banning books removed freedom of both expression and speech, and it is a shocking and appalling practice.

Jessica said...

When books are banned, it makes them that much more intriguing. I read Fahrenheit 451, as well, several years ago, and it goes very well with this theme.