Books are most often challenged for language, sexual content, and violence, but what about for political reasons? A perfect storm ensues when political ideologies, race-based fears, and those seeking political gain exert influence over a school’s curriculum.
A recently published article critiquing Banned Books Week makes several points that merit consideration, and I hope that reflecting on these critiques can help librarians and intellectual freedom supporters move toward a more thoughtful approach to anti-censorship work.
R.L. Stine was born today in 1943, and has made a successful career scaring readers of all ages!
Being able to explore and learn is a great aspect of reading, but what I truly think the act of reading represents is the ability to use one’s mind. And this is always what makes reading both subversive and not done enough.
“Often the most challenged books are the stories that need to be heard the most,” muses the bannedbooksweek.org website. Here are reflections from Rev. Emily Gage on banned books week, the silencing of stories and why what we share and how we listen matters.
However, as with any banned book, it’s these books that make us uncomfortable, that cause us to dig deep and think about ourselves and about the people around us feel, that are most important to be widely available.
This Banned Books Week has been filled with literary advocacy. During the week, readers have been sending letters to banned and challenged authors, sharing how their words have made a difference.
For Banned Books Week, Jamie LaRue, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, writes to banned author, Jay Asher with gratitude for his courage, compassion, and persistence.
For Banned Books Week, Ann K. G. Brown, RUSA President, writes to banned author, Leslea Newman on the importance of diverse representation on our library shelves.
For Banned Books Week, Jamie Campbell Naidoo, ALSC President, writes to banned author, Todd Parr with gratitude for his message of belonging, peace, and acceptance in his vibrant books.