Lorenzo Walker Tech HS & Institute of Tech

Monday, September 25, 2006

Banned Books Week

Since 1982, the last week of September has been recognized as Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read! This "freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular" (American Library Association, 2006) is a reflection of our country's foundational Bill of Rights - but it is a freedom which we cannot take for granted.

Taking a quick look at the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books from 1990-2000 helps one appreciate the wide variety of opinions! The list includes some "classics", such as
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
as well as more contemporary and popular books, including
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
Now, check your knowledge with the Banned Book Quiz!

There is really no common theme as to the reason for their challenge - many explore themes in real (though not ideal) life, while others are more fantasy or surreal in nature. No matter the reason, the attempt to deny the basic intellectual freedom, the freedom "to both seek and recieve information from all points of view without restriction" is not only the denial of a right, but it is a key obstacle to an informed democratic citizentry.

Censorship (with the exception of the nonprotected obscenity, child pornography, defamation, and "fighting words") suppresses ideas and conversations which are important for all of us. (ALA, 2006). Just as I would not force someone to read a book that he/she found offensive, I expect that she/he would not expect that book to be banned from public reading. Education and democratic principles and responsibilities are far more precious and enduring! Other thoughts?

photo credit to wfairchild at flickr - Banned Authors

2 Comments:

  • Thanks for the Banned Books Quiz... I answered a good number of them correctly, especially the one about the comic book - for some reason only those who know my musical taste will understand, the answer to that one came to me immediately.

    By Blogger JJohnson, at 9/30/2006 1:33 PM  

  • Oh yes! I do remember those musical preferences! As a former English teacher, I'm glad to hear you answered many of them correctly!

    By Blogger LWTHS&IT_MediaCenter, at 9/30/2006 8:22 PM  

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