The free webinar “Banned Books Uncensored: Health, Sex & Growing Up!” on Thursday will explore why these topics are challenged and ways to defend these titles.
Imagine you’re an author, in the middle of writing an international bestselling YA book series about vampires, when you find out that that same book series has been banned from one school district. Banned in its entirety. But wait. You’re not finished with the series yet. Is this school district really banning books…before they are even published?
On Monday, the American Library Association released the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018 in the State of America’s Libraries Report. The reasons for challenging the titles ranged from LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, to “anti-cop” and profanity. Here are some responses from authors on their books being on the Top 11 Most Challenged Books list.
Happy birthday to Tim Federle, author, broadway performer, and board member of the National Council Against Censorship, who was born in California on March 24, 1980.
Part of the reason that the novel is so well loved, I think, is because it challenged so many of us to think about difficult issues. Whether we continue to teach Mockingbird or choose to move on to another, more modern book, one important lesson from Mockingbird will live on – we will continue to read, and love, our banned books.
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.
Addressing the issue as a community allows for open and effective communication and gives students the opportunity to understand and ask questions about what is likely a confusing topic for them. Many of these students have probably already either experienced firsthand or have heard about an incident of police violence, and like it or not, they are already actively paying attention to and attempting to understand the important issues our nation is facing and their role in such situations. It is important for educators— ALL educators – to guide them through that process.
One of the key consequences of book banning is erasure. When we decide that some things are too uncomfortable to talk about, we risk losing the memory of how things happen. We lose context, we lose people, we lose the truth.
And then I read The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. You know it. You probably read it in middle school or high school as required reading. You probably giggled over those passages where Anne discuses her body. But what struck me most about this remarkable book is the, in many instances, complete normality of the teenage experience.
My hope is that the Great American Read series and accompanying library programming across the country may draw in some of those Americans who did not read a book last year. Perhaps they will even read one of the banned books on the list and gain an appreciation for the importance of the right to read and intellectual freedom. Either way, I am thrilled to see so many banned and challenged books on a list of America’s favorite reads. My fellow readers, keep reading books that challenge the status quo and make you consider multiple perspectives.