It's Banned Books Week, which means that schools and libraries across the US are rallying readers in order to celebrate access to information while bringing attention to the realities of censorship.
The American Library Association explains BBW:
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 460 reports on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves in 2009. Let's take a look at a few of the books that have been banned (or challenged) over the past few years.
And Tango Makes Three, written by Just Richardson and Peter Parnell, is a 2005 children's book that tells a super sweet (and true!) story about two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who love each other and hatch a chick together at the New York's Central Park Zoo. According to the ALA, this book has also been one of the most heavily challenged books every year since being published.
Just a little over a week ago, Wesley Scoggins wrote an opinion piece which characterized Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak as "filthy and immoral", citing the book as "soft pornography" because of two rape scenes. Anderson responded to his piece by saying that "the fact that he sees rape as sexually exciting (pornographic) is disturbing, if not horrifying." Agreed.
There are little folds of skin all over the place, you can hardly find it. The little hole underneath is so terribly small that I simply can't imagine how a man can get in there, let alone how a whole baby can get out!
You know what they say you should do during Banned Books Week? Read a banned book! If you're in Portland and feel like stopping by the library this week, we'll have a selection of banned books showcased and available to be checked out. And don't forget to stop by the Uncensored Celebration at Holocene this Wednesday night, where our own Andi Zeisler will be reading during a celebration of banned and challenged books.
As for the rest of you? Let us know what your all-time favorite banned book is. And hopefully you'll find some time to re-read it this week.