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Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books

     Did you know that this is Banned Books Week? Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read, and was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since that year, yes, here, in The United States of America, home of the free and the brave. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. It's interesting to note that almost all of the books being challenged these days are meant for teenagers to read, and these battle ready book banners believe they are protecting your children from the harm these books could do them. The harm seems to be mostly exposure to profanity (I probably took care of that one while still on the maternity ward) and reading of positive portrayals of homosexuals (my children's gay grandmother took care of that one for me). SO I don't know about all of you, but I don't want or need anyone else deciding what my kid can or should read. That's my job and I think I do it pretty well. But even if I did it badly I don't want anyone else deciding. Keep your hands off my books, but more than that, keep your hands off my kids. The banners go after books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature so nothing is safe. It is often done insidiously and silently so you may be completely unaware of it happening in your community, to your children, in your tax supported institutions. The popular Twilight series of the last couple of years has been a big target, but Catcher in The Rye is still making the list. I will post a link to the #1 most challenged book of late below and I think I'm going to order my fourteen year old daughter a copy. It looks like something she would really like, and as a writer I admire the author's creativity. It is quite clever.

     And here is Good's interactive viewer of the most targeted books within for about each.

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