Today is the start of Banned Books Week, the one week each year that focuses on all the ways that different books are challenged, banned, and otherwise kept out of the hands of those who want to read them. I think by now you all know where I stand on censorship: everyone has a cause, and censorship and literacy are mine. Banned Books Weeks combines my two favorite causes. It promotes literacy because it encourages everyone to explore books that have been challenged and make a decision for themselves. It fights censorship by making us all more aware of the issue of banned books, and the lunacy surrounding some of the decisions to keep those books off shelves.
Banned Books: How Does it Affect You?
I’ve been asked before why I care so much about Banned Books Week, especially since most of the books on the list are being challenged by schools that I’ve never attended or towns that I’ve never visited. After all, they say, my access to the books isn’t being restricted! Banned Books Week is more than about a few backwards-thinking schools and towns trying to prevent kids from getting nasty ideas about becoming wizards that triumph over evil. It’s about the right to read as a whole, and about preserving the First Amendment rights.
If we give an inch when it comes to protecting those rights, we can expect to have them completely taken away over time. We’ve already lost the right to read what we want without fear of the government reading into our book choices. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI to demand access to your library records to determine if you have been reading anything that may indicate that you’re a terrorist. You don’t even have to be suspected of criminal activity for it to happen!
What Can You Do?
It is the responsibility of all of us to keep censorship from becoming an acceptable idea. Whether you’re living in the United States and trying to protect your First Amendment Rights, or living overseas in a country that is known for squashing your right to express yourself, we all have to stand up and fight against it. It’s not really all that hard.
- Write a blog post about Banned Books Week. If you have a blog, take a few minutes to put together a post letting your readers know about the issue.
- Speak up when your library attempts to ban a book.
- Read a banned book. Read more than one! With so many books challenged for a myriad of ludicrous reasons, there is sure to be one on the list that you’ll enjoy!
- Change your Facebook profile pic to one of the graphics on the Banned Books Week webpage.
- Attend an event in your area. Check here for different event listings.
- Attend school board meetings and voice concerns when book challenges are brought up.
Pretty much anything you can do to draw attention to the issue of banned and challenged books is a step in the right direction. Just don’t sit idly by while books are torn off shelves and out of the hands of readers.
I’m happy you are using your blog to stand up for something you believe it. I would love to see the list of books that are being banned, or maybe they just vary by school district/regions.
I’ve never heard about Banned Books Week before. THanks for sharing.
I never knew so much about banning books. I am heading to the library actually tomorrow so I plan to ask about this. Thanks!
I never knew there were banned books…lol
I’m with ya, I think banning books is terrible! I never knew there was a banned books week though, thanks for sharing!
This subject gets me a bit hot as well… I mean, have you seen some of the books they aren’t letting kids read? Have you seen what they want to do to …Tom Sawyer… for example??? Come on! No way. That’s just wrong.
When my oldest son (now 25) was in about 5th grade, they had to read 1 book a week and turn in a book report every Friday. They didn’t have an assigned book and could pick any book for their enjoyment so long as they were actually reading. Sounds awesome, right? He was so excited, we went out and bought nearly every ‘Goosebumps’ book that was out. He loved them. I loved that he WANTED to read. He turned the 1st report in and I got a note from the teacher saying he couldn’t read ‘those types’ of books… what ‘types’..?? Age appropriate children’s books?? I was hot. I told her he’s reading what he enjoys and that’s the end of it. And.. he did. All year. 1 after another he read the entire series. and to this day, he still has a love for reading. Wasn’t THAT the point.
You are awesome for bringing this up! Carry on!
The reasoning behind some of these books being banned is ridiculous!! I changed my fb cover photo, it isn’t much, but hopefully will make some of my friends think about it. Thanks for the post! 🙂
I have never heard of Banned Book Week but I am definitely going right now to learn more!
I just don’t understand why someone feels they have the right to choose anything for other people. I can understand when it would actually harm the person doing the choosing, but if it doesn’t, why do they care? I am just not a fan at ALL of banning books!
I feel strongly books should NOT be banned! It’s should be everyone’s personal right to choose what they want to read!
I didn’t realize there was a week dedicated to raising awareness for banned books. I don’t agree with the banning of most of them – thanks for sharing about this!
It’s amazing to me that books are still banned. I’m glad to read that people like you are getting the word out to put an end to it.