Originally posted on Sat, Sep 25 2010 at ROPL.org.
According to the American Library Association, “Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment” (source). Which means that we want you to read a banned (or challenged) book (or two).
Every year, books, such as Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Color Purple by Alice Walker and To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee are banned or challenged in libraries and schools across the globe.
It’s not just the classics that get challenge or banned. There are plenty of other books, including children’s titles; such as And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson or Michael Martin’s short biography of Kurt Cobain. In addition, young adult/teen books make up a large portion of those challenged and/or banned.
These titles include the profoundly moving novel Looking for Alaska by John Green, the ever popular Twilight and Harry Potter series and the cleverly titled novel One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, by Sonya Sones, which tells the story of a teenager who must deal with her mother’s death from cancer. While located in the teen section, these books can be enjoyed by both teen and adult readers.
Not all banned and challenged books appeal to everyone — but that’s how it is with every book in the library. But just like the library as a whole, there’s a banned or challenged book that’s just waiting for you to pick up and devour. Whether it’s Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad or Unwind by Neal Shusterman, there’s bound to be a banned/challenged book for you.
So, listen to the ALA and think for yourself — read a banned or challenged book today (tomorrow, the week after …). Come into the library to check out our display of banned books — including some of the above listed titles and many more. Or, for other titles, check out the lists of banned and challenged books put together by the ALA: