The Internet is awesome. For example, did you know that this week (September 21-27) is Banned Books Week? I didn’t know there was such a week. Its purpose is to celebrate the freedom to read. This year their focus is on comics and graphic novels. The celebration of the freedom to read is led by the American Library Association and co-sponsored by a number of professional and advocacy groups.
Imagine my surprise when I read the list of banned or challenged books, dozens that are classics found on library shelves across the country. Books are banned on political, religious, sexual, and social grounds. A banning is the removal of those books. Challenges not only involve someone expressing their point of view, but an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, restricting the access of others. This is a threat to freedom of speech and choice. Many of my favorite classics and others from this list are on my bookshelves.
To name a few:
The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) is listed as offensive to Christianity. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck), partially set in California, was banned for its alleged unflattering portrayal of area residents. Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss) was temporarily banned in China. The Diary of Anne Frank was banned in Lebanon. Others include the Canterbury Tales, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and my all time favorite, Gone With the Wind (Margaret Mitchell). I admit I haven’t read J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, but they were banned based on claims that the novels contain witchcraft, the occult, or evil, and even that they are disrespectful to adults.
What a loss to not have been able to read the books once considered unfit for the public eye.