This, from the American Library Association Website:
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 25−October 2, 2010
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.You can read more about it here.
I perused the list of some of the top challenged or banned classics and this list of books challenged or censored in the past decade. Due to scholarly duties I decided to focus on one of my longtime favorites, To Kill a Mockingbird. The ALA reports that this book is most frequently challenged for racism, offensive language, and being inappropriate for the age group.
Remember yesterday how I said I try to rein myself in sometimes? Yeah, well, not today.
First off, I am absolutely against these challenges. I love books rather mightily, as you might have guessed from my photo. But often these challenges don't even make sense. One of the reasons people consider To Kill A Mockingbird an important piece of literature is because of Harper Lee's treatment of rabid racism and the various methods of defiance of the racist regime employed by the Finches. The "offensive language", namely the n-word, is absolutely in context and used purposefully. And it is only inappropriate for the age group if there is no guidance from adults. With a teacher in the classroom, this should not be a problem.
I think many of us in academia take freedom of reading and of book choice for granted, but clearly that is a mistake. If you decide to read or reread a book on this list, leave the title in the comments. I'm always looking for recommendations and these lists are as good a place as any to start.