Saturday, September 29, 2012

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week 

(September 30 - October 6, 2012)

"Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association."

To kick off this important celebration for book lovers everywhere, I'd like to welcome Teacher Librarian, Peg Gates.  Peg is a dedicated and knowledgeable teacher librarian that divides her time between two elementary schools in my district.  A  little reading fact about Peg is that her favorite place to read is – on her back porch in the summer, with a glass of iced tea and some goldfish!

Peg tells us about this celebration that promotes the freedom to choose what we read . . .  

What is Banned Books Week?
     What do Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and Maurice Sendak’s classic In the Night Kitchen all have in common? Believe it or not, each of these well-known works of literature has been banned from some libraries! Challenges have been made to their inclusions in collections based on supporting witchcraft and wizardry (Harry), being too depressing and too imaginative (Anne) and nudity (Night Kitchen).
Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes our “freedom to read” (ALA website, by highlighting and celebrating those books that have been eliminated from or restricted in library collections due to censorship. This year (September 30th – October 6th) marks the 30th anniversary of this celebration, which each year consists of an updated list of challenged books and recognition of the  “efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read” (ALA website).
Why is it important to celebrate Banned Books Week?
A quick look at other books on the list makes this an easy question.  In addition to the classics mentioned above, consider a library without James and the Giant Peach, The Five Chinese Brothers, and the beloved poetry of Shel Silverstein. Modern YA novels dealing with subjects facing young teens, such as bullying, adolescence, drug use and suicide have been challenged. Because of the collective support of many parents, teachers and students, these books have remained on the shelves, continuing to be a source of inspiration and solace for their readers.
      Have I ever had books challenged in the library?
Oh, yes. While I’ve never received a formal challenge filed with the school district, I have been approached about removing books from the collection for various reasons. The most common observation from adults is that the material contained in the book is too mature for our level. Students point out pictures that they find to be “inappropriate.” Generally, the parents have been right – and I’ve sent the books to the middle school. And the students – well, the items tend to stay in the collection, and they love to share them with friends!
Thanks for sharing Peg
If you have not already read one of these challenged books, you may wish to check them out at your school or public library . . .



1 comment:

  1. It is sad to see educators misleading children like this. In reality, no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century. Thomas Sowell calls BBW "National Hogwash Week" and for good reason. To balance the above story with factual information, read what Dr. Sowell said and many others here:

    As former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."