Celebrate the freedom to read. September 30 through October 6, 2012 is Banned Books Week.
So what's the big deal about censoring a few dusty tomes? Well, click here for a list of books that have been banned, challenged or restricted in the last year. Do you recognize any of them? Some of the titles may surprise you. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey and Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich, for instance, would never have entered my radar as dangerous. But there's probably a little something for everyone on that list. As Nebula award-winner Catherynne Valente said, "If it's good and popular, it's been banned."
Find out if one of your favorite classics has been threatened with censorship and why. I discovered that A Separate Peace by John Knowles, which I studied in high school, was challenged for “unsuitable language” within my own school district just two years after I graduated. I loved A Separate Peace. It shaped how I look at the world, I believe, for the better. How sad it would have been if my fellow students had been denied the same opportunity I had to learn from that book. If you want to know more about the censorship of books, the American Library Association (ALA) has a wealth of information, including a video essay by Bill Moyers, the honorary co-chair of this year's Banned Books Week.
Celebrated author Junot Diaz said of censorship, "Every time we ban a text we're basically tearing a page from the book of our democratic culture." If you want to see what he and several other prominent writers think about their favorite banned books, the Association of American Publishers (APA) asked them and this is what they had to say:
Do you have a favorite book that has been banned or challenged?