Banned in the USA

For those of us who love books, nothing is more infuriating (and completely perplexing) than the notion that any book could ever be banned.  The American Library Association has created an annual Banned Books Week (the last week in Sepetember) celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  One of the goals of the week is to draw attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.  This is an important topic to think about, even if it doesn’t seem to be an issue in your school or community. Kids (or even parents) may not realize how many books are challenged each year, yet are not banned – thanks to the hard work of librarians, teachers, parents and kids.   Take this opportunity to think about books, freedom, censorship and more – and then discuss it with your kids, no matter how young.

Here are some resources to help you explore this topic:

An overview of the importance of this week, from the ALA.

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Here’s a list of the most frequently challenged books, by decade.

And the books most challenged by year (through 2010).  (Yes, you’re reading that correctly – the most challenged book of the last 5 years is a children’s picture book about penguins!)

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Here’s a book jacket gallery of banned books, for the visually inclined.

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And a thought-provoking article about those of us who are politically correct liberals who hate censorship in all forms, and how we cope when we read aloud to our kids and start self-censoring.  (This is Michael Chabon’s article in The Atlantic about reading Huck Finn aloud to his kids.)

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And some thoughts from an author who has been challenged and banned herself.  She also has a great resource on her website for parents, teachers, principals and students for how to respond to challenges. (It’s Judy Blume!!!)

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2 Responses to Banned in the USA

  1. Thanks for sharing – I forwarded to my staff! I have a Banned Books bracelet from Powell’s that I LOVE to wear. I read banned books!

  2. rosefamily says:

    When I was looking for images to use for the post, I found the coolest t-shirts. I think everyone on my list is getting one for Christmas this year!

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