Thousands of books have been challenged in American public libraries and schools since Banned Books Week was established the last week of September back in 1982. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group whereas a banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve the expresstion of a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. But who exactly wants to do all this banning and why? My pal Sarah Murphy, a school librarian and co-founder (with Maria Falgoust) of the Desk Set, writes, “Those who attempt to ban books are probably afraid of whatever is inside. So, what are they most afraid of? Judging from the dangers cited this year, it’s sex… Let’s celebrate our freedom to read by checking out the books that got the would-be book banners’ totally chaste knickers in a knot.” Check out her reccommendations via Flavorpill’s 9/26 article, 10 Fantastic Banned Books That Talk About Sex!
New York Times Editorial published February 10, 2009
Banning Books in Miami
Schools are supposed to introduce children to a variety of ideas and viewpoints, but a few years ago, the Miami-Dade School Board decided to put one viewpoint off limits. It banned the children’s book “A Visit to Cuba” from its school libraries because it said the book offers too positive a portrait of life under the Castro regime. Adding insult to injury, a federal appeals court upheld the ban last week.
Miami-Dade School Board Bans Cuba Book (June 16, 2006)
Since its beginnings in 1982, Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. This year (September 27 – October 4) marks BBW’s 27th anniversary and to kick off Banned Books Week in Chicago, the American Library Association, the McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum, and the Chicago Tribune will host a Banned Books Week Read-Out! The event will feature popular banned or challenged authors and local Chicago celebrities on Saturday, September 27, from noon to 3:00, at Pioneer Plaza.
Banned Books Week raises awareness both in the United States and internationally about threats to free speech. Banned Books Week was started by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.
If you are in the Chicago area, why not drop by to hear noted, banned authors including Judy Blume, Stephen Chbosky, Chris Crutcher, Lois Lowry, Lauren Myracle, and Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell. Rumor has it that book signings will follow their readings. Far from Chicago? Consider hosting your own Read Out. Info is available on how to do an effective event, big or small.at: