Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Banned Books Week 2012

It's Banned Books Week again, September 30th to October 6th. You're encouraged to read a banned or challenged book, make a video celebrating a favorite one, or blog about it. The Twitter hatchtag is #BannedBooksWeek. (If you choose to write a post celebrating Banned Books Week or intellectual freedom, feel free to link your post in the comments or e-mail me, and I'll link your post in an update.)

As usual, the best sites to check out are the Banned Books Week site (it's gotten snazzier over the years), the American Library Association page, and the National Council of Teachers of English page. Participant videos are being posted to the Banned Books Week channel, and Bill Moyers made a good one:

My archive on banned books is here. I've written more extensively on the subject in past years (not much time this year, alas).

The 2011 post recapped the 10 most challenged books of 2010, and examined the challenges against Brave New World by Aldous Huxley and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

The 2010 post focused on the difference between a challenge and a banning, and explored the dynamics surrounding censorship attempts.

The 2008 post went through the lists of most challenged and banned books, and quoted a suggested editorial by the American Library Association. In 2008, I also wrote about Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and the horribly ironic efforts to ban it (commenters were invited to name the books they'd want to memorize if they lived in the world of the book). Meanwhile, I did a roundup of others' posts and made some "Read" posters, such as the one below:

On a related note, here's my obituary from earlier in the year for Bradbury, who I heard speak several times, including at my local public library. He was one of the most passionate advocates for public libraries imaginable, and it was inspiring to hear his sheer joy and enthusiasm for books and the arts. An intersection in Los Angeles is being named for Bradbury (he didn't drive, but frequented a few locations close to the intersection). There's also a proposal to rename one of local library branches for him. The public commenting period is open until November 9th. (Here's the contact information.)


I'll update this later in the week with any other posts I find (feel free to link yours in the comments if you choose to participate).

Blue Gal posts a cool participant video made by a bookstore at Crooks and Liars.

Book Riot posts some nifty videos.

The Huffington Post features a slick interactive infographic from the ALA on the 10 most challenged books.

Maria Popova quotes Bukowski on censorship and quotes a book or two.

Random House lists six young adult favorites that are "frequently challenged or banned," and quotes Judy Blume on censorship.

Letters of Note has some great older posts on attempts to ban or restrict books, including Mark Twain's reaction to a Brooklyn librarian's decision to remove all copies of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library site has a post up for the occasion, plus "Indianapolis writer and editor Corey Michael Dalton is spending this week "locked up with Vonnegut" at the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library to call attention to continued efforts to ban books." (Among other things, they're "protesting the continuing ban on Slaughterhouse-Five by the Republic, Missouri, school system.")

Politics & Prose has some neat graphics and several other posts in the censorship category.

Tiki-Toki has a cool timeline of banned books.

Penguin features covers from banned and challenged books and gives the background on censorship efforts against them.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund gives a wonderful overview of efforts to ban comic books/graphic novels.

Open Road declares that "a book worth banning is a book worth reading," posts a video of authors talking about censorship efforts, and has a contest for winning ebooks of 30 banned or challenged works.

Edutopia has some suggestions for how to celebrate Banned Books Week in your school library.

Reading for Sanity looks at efforts to ban Charlotte's Web and The Diary of Anne Frank.

I Read Banned Books is sponsoring a book giveaway, with a couple dozen book-oriented blogs helping to spread the word.

The Louise Brooks Society writes about a once-censored book, The Diary of a Lost Girl (Louise Brooks starred in the silent film version).

The Lawrence Public Library in Kansas is giving away some really cool "Banned Book Trading Cards" designed by local artists. (There are seven cards, but you can see all 46 entries.)

Grant Snider of Incidental Comics drew a comic for the occasion.

Van Meter Library Voice in Iowa chronicles some local school activities for Banned Books Week.

The (Robert) Kennedy Library Out Loud site has a podcast discussing "books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of 2000-2009 that depict coming-of-age stories." (The site has several other podcasts for Banned Books Week, and a number of other related posts.)

Matter Deep Publishing is posting on some of their favorite banned books.

Lora Wrote shares her personal experiences with banned and challenged books.

Boundless reports on the Child Internet Protective Act (CIPA) in action at schools, and how "in recent years, schools have taken [a] simple filter requirement and overstepped their bounds, with the end results being that they are blocking educationally valuable websites."

Herlander Walking: Syrbal remembers Maurice Sendak, and more.

Lyric James explains the book challenging process.

Geeks Unleashed looks at some banned landmark comics, and banned literary classics.

Maria's Mélange: For her reading list, Maria "decided to add in a few books specifically because they are frequently challenged and/or banned."

The Goldstein Library at Florida State University celebrated Banned Books Week with a number of activities, including costumes.

XOJane looks at banned books and the important influence of librarians and parents.

The ACLU looks at a book about two moms being banned in a Utah school district.

Josie tweets a pic of a library shelf featuring banned books.

Pima County Library in Tucson, Arizona, shows off their main display.

The New York Times looks at Lois Lowry and her often-challenged book, The Giver.

Author of young adult fiction A.S. King recounts her awkward experience with her books being removed from school libraries due to objections from... teachers and principals. I'll give her the last word:

I have a very logical view on book banning. It goes kinda like this: You can tell your kids what to read. You can’t tell my kids what to read. I don’t care if you’re a principal or a board member or a fellow parent, if you disallow a book, challenge a book, ban a book from the library shelves, you are deciding what books are available to my family based on your own views. (I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want me to do the same for your kids, right? So this is a pretty simple and easy-to-grasp concept, I think.)

Some would argue that it’s a school’s choice, and I agree – it is the school’s choice what goes into their library, but as a taxpayer, I’m now curious who chooses the books for the school library. I for one trust my high school media specialist and English department because these professionals have been trained and continue to train in the field of literature in education. But how often are collection lists checked by the principal or other untrained-in-library-science individuals? If so, what is that individual’s method for checking? Reading the actual books or reading a few reviews online?

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