Banned Books Week
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
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
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