The last week of September is Banned Books Week, the annual American Library Association (ALA) event celebrating our freedom to read. Reading is a form of nurturing, especially for children. As a kid, I cherished my unlimited access to whatever books I wanted. Of course, growing up in Canada and the Bahamas, I took that access for granted. My parents never censored what I read, and I often borrowed their grown-up books, even though my mother kept me well supplied with stimulating things to read.
Here's a list of absurd reasons books have been banned in the past (courtesy the ALA website):
Ten most farfetched (silliest, irrational, illogical) reasons to ban a book:
- “Encourages children to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” ( A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstien)
- “It caused a wave of rapes.” ( Arabian Nights, or Thousand and One Nights, anonymous)
- “If there is a possibility that something might be controversial, then why not eliminate it?” ( Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown)
- “Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” ( Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
- “It is a real ‘downer.’” ( Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank)
- “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” ( Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm K. Grimm)
- “One bunny is white and the other is black and this ‘brainwashes’ readers into accepting miscegenation.” ( The Rabbit’s Wedding, by Garth Williams)
- “It is a religious book and public funds should not be used to purchase religious books.” ( Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, by Walter A. Elwell, ed.)
- “A female dog is called a bitch.” ( My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara)
- “An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” ( Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle)
The Huffington Post published a couple of great graphics: top ten banned classic children's books and top ten challenged or banned books of 2010 -- and here's the ALA list of banned and challenged books from 2010-2011. There's also a funny essay on books that deserve to be banned from high school syllabi in Salon.com.
I'm giving a way a challenged book from 2010 right here, to celebrate the freedom to read. You can win your own copy of, One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies - by Sonya Sones.
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is be a follower of this blog, and make a comment about your favorite banned book.
To show your support for the freedom to read, read a banned book, go to an event at your local library and join some 35,000 (at last count) free-thinking readers who like the Banned Books Week Facebook page.
What's your favorite banned or challenged book and why?