Get Ready to Read Banned Books
If you’ve read many of my posts here, you’ve probably realized that one of my hot-button issues is censorship. Particularly book censorship. So it’s really no surprise that I get a little nerdy-excited when Banned Books Week rolls around every year. It starts on Sunday and runs through next week, and this year marks its 30th anniversary.
To mark the 30th anniversary, the American Library Association is doing a few special things. One of these things is a 50 State Salute, where each state is creating videos about how their community celebrates Banned Books Week. ALA is also sponsoring the Virtual Read-Out again this year for individuals who wish to voice their support online.
But my favorite thing so far that is being done to celebrate the 30th anniversary is the timeline.
The ALA has put together an amazing timeline of 30 years of censored books, dated with the year they were featured for Banned Books Week, as well as the main reason why they were taken off shelves or reading lists. And, to be honest, some of the reasons are laughable.
- 1985–Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: Removed by the Island Trees School District in New York in 1976 for being “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, and just plain filthy.”
- 1990–Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz: Challenged in 1990 in Livonia, MI because people thought the poems would frighten children. (Can I please have a “duh”?)
- 1998–Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoit: Challenged in Florida and Kansas for “teaching the homosexual lifestyle.”
- 2000–Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey: Removed from the Maple Hill School in Connecticut, due to apparently causing unruly behavior among children.
- 2010–TTYL by Lauren Myracle: Challenged in Connecticut for language, sexual content, and…wait for it…being grammatically incorrect.
These are just a few of the challenges featured in ALA’s Banned Books timeline. And if you go and read the full lists of the most banned and challenged books by year, you can see some of the other sometimes over-the-top reasons that critics find to try to pull books from the hands of readers. Also be sure to check out your local library and bookstores to see if they have any special events planned to celebrate Banned Books Week next week.
So pick up those banned books and get ready to read up a storm in support of literary freedom next week. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and cannot read, and make sure the world knows that.
What are some of your favorite banned or challenged books? Have you ever experienced a book challenge in your area?