Monday, September 28, 2009

In Praise of Banned Books

From the ALA's Banned Book Resources

Banned Book Week started yesterday and I'm already thinking about which book to read. I traditionally read a banned or challenged book every year during banned book week. I had planned to save Lolita for this year but found myself reading it mid-year. Sadly I have a ton of other books to choose from.

One of the greatest rights we have in this country is the freedom of the press and along with it, the freedom to read what we want. It is a right that has been challenged and questioned, but I still believe that the freedom to read and say what we want is the foundation of a good democracy. The librarian in me screams out that we all have a right to education and should have access to all types of information.

A couple months ago I did a review of And Tango Makes Three for Yet Another Children's Book Blog. That story has been the most banned or challenged book of the last couple years. There is debate that it is one of the most banned books ever. Yet wonderfully I was able to go to the public library near me, pick up a copy, and see what all the fuss was about. It is one of my most frequently read reviews. And one of my more passionately written.

I have never seen a reason to ban books. If you don't want your child to read a certain book, don't let them read it. If you have objections about a book and your child does read it, explain what those objections are. Talk with your child about why you don't approve of the book. But don't try to keep me from reading the book. Don't deny others the right to read and learn because of your morals. (I apologize. I know I'm up on my soapbox today).

Each year the American Library Association promotes reading on Banned Book Week. No librarian will tell you that you can't read something. Reading is learning and all aspects of life should be learned about. If you are passionate about the freedom of the press and about reading in general, go through this list. See what is being banned. And possibly grab yourself a copy. Celebrate Banned Book Week by flexing the freedom to read.

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