Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Sunday Salon - Banned Book Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Oh, yes. It's that time again. September 27 - October 4th is Banned Book Week here in the US. It is time to celebrate the Freedom To Read!! In case you haven't read this blog before, I'm a big believer in Freedoms. Censorship, in any form, just makes me see red. And book banning is by far the one that hits home with me. No one has the right to dictate to me what I can or can not read. Period. End of story. And anyone that feels that certain "objectionable" material should be removed from a library because their children could pick it up, needs to spend a little more time with said children helping THEM make better choices. Not trying to push their agendas on ME. I think every person has the right to choose. If you object to the content of a book, simply don't read it. It's really that simple.

For the past 28 years, we have been celebrating the Freedom To Read Week. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden "surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, libraries, and bookstores". More than 1000 books have been challenged since then.

According to, in 2007, more than 400 hundred books were challenged. In 2007, the top 10 challenged books were:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Banned Books Week is sponsored in by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

What can you do? Exercise Your First Amendment Rights - Read a Banned Book!


In reading news, I finished 3 books this past week. Check out my reviews for The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti, Untamed: A House of Night Novel (Book 4) by PC Cast and Kristin Cast, and When Twilight Burns: Gardella Vampire Chronicles Book 4 by Colleen Gleason. I enjoyed all of them. Right now, I am reading Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, and I'm in the hunt for a new book. Any suggestions?? Maybe something on the list of banned books!

Happy Sunday and Happy Reading!!


Bluestocking said...

Hi Stephanie!

I'm celebrating Banned Book Week on my blog too! Stop by!

Nymeth said...

"End of story. And anyone that feels that certain "objectionable" material should be removed from a library because their children could pick it up, needs to spend a little more time with said children helping THEM make better choices."

You couldn't have said it better, Stephanie. I think attempts at censorship often boil down to people trying to get institutions to do their parenting for them.

Stephanie said...

Bluestocking - Thanks for stopping by! I'll check out your blog as well.

Nymeth - I agree with you 100% about the parenting thing. You have to have faith that your kids will learn the values you teach them. You can't shield them forever.

samantha.1020 said...

Looks like you had a good week of reading.

Stephanie said...

Samantha - I DID have a good week of reading. Wouldn't it be nice if they were all that way?

Andi said...

Woohoo! I love me some Banned Books. Makes me miss the days when I moderated the Banned Books group at Yahoo.

My argument class at the college does a unit on censorship and intellectual freedom, and we inevitably talk about banned books. They're always SHOCKED by the list. It's nice to see them get irked by the idea of someone telling them they can't read a particular book.

Bellezza said...

Isn't it unbelievable that Banned Books is even a subject in America?! I love your strong, clear words about it in your opening. You go, girl. (Will you run for president?)

Literary Feline said...

You said it, Stephanie! I couldn't agree more.

valentina said...

great post, I agree with you 100%.

I can't believe censorship on books is still an issue, but as long as it is we need people like you to oppose it!

I've read a bunch of those 2007 "dangerous" books and the rest are going straight to the wish list!

ps: I've recently read James and the giant peach by Roald Dahl and I can't believe it was challenged in some schools in the US. I mean, come on!

Kim L said...

You've been awarded!

Ladytink_534 said...

I'm looking forward to hear what you thought of Something Wicked This Way Comes! Have you ever read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle? It was banned at one time or how about Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon? It was challenged once but the author flew in to defend his work to the town council and they decided not to ban his book after all.

Trish said...

Wow--I can't believe I've only read three of the books in the top 10! I guess I need to get to work. And yes, the choice to read what you want is such an important thing!

Carl V. said...

I am really enjoying all those fREADom posters/banners I am seeing everywhere. Very creative and well done!