Credit: Read, Sav, Read.
Today is the final day of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. Throughout history, books have been challenged and banned from schools and libraries. When this happens, our freedom to read is threatened. Check out the ALA’s list of the Ten Most Challenged Books by Year. How many of those books have you read?
While the challenging and banning of books has decreased over time and is much less of an issue today, Banned Books Week is a time to reflect on and appreciate our right to read the books of our choice. I have, personally, found many of my favorite books to be those that have been challenged and/or banned. The ALA defines a book challenge as a “formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.”
Books that are banned offend people. They go beyond telling the stories of straight, white, Christian males who live bland lives and that is offensive to some. When I pick up a book, I want to read about characters who have varied genders, sexual orientations, classes, belief systems, races, states of mental health, and overall backgrounds. When we read, we are better able to empathize with others who exist and have existed through the human experience. Readers live thousands of different lives and are better people because of it.
In my opinion, a handful of offended people shouldn’t determine the entire public’s ability to access books that they could relate to or could help them better relate to others. What is distasteful to some is life changing to others. Celebrate Banned Books Week by opposing censorship and reading whatever you want!
You can get this I Read Banned Books mug here.
What are some of your favorite banned books? Share them with us in the comments section below.