We celebrate Banned Books Week September 27 through October 4 this year. Well, maybe it’s more accurate to say we celebrate the books that get banned, and the idea that freedom and liberty require that we not ban books.
Banned Books Week has been noted every year since 1982 in a long-running campaign from the American Library Association. Why?
Because ideas matter. The right to express ideas, and the right to be able to read ideas, are at the foundation of our liberties.
Again in 2007, books most frequently targeted for banning include And Tango Makes Three, a delightful children’s story about two penguins taking care of an orphaned egg (too much like homosexuality), and Mark Twain’s powerful, essentially-American novel that makes the case against racism, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (ironically, because complainants claim to find the book racist).
People who ask that these books be pulled from the shelves often fail to recognize the irony — why should we ban a book about caring for orphans, or the book that makes the case against racism?
The Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver sponsors an annual Banned Books Week essay contest for Colorado teens, in conjunction with the Colorado Freedom of Expression Foundation.
How will your school and local public library commemorate Banned Books Week? Which banned books will you read, and urge others to read?
Which banned books are on your reading lists for classroom use? Does that strike a little too close to home? Then you need to get informed, and get active.