Banned Books Week 2005 is September 24–October 1.
What is Banned Books Week? The American Library Association writes,
Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met." [http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/backgroundb/background.htm#wbbw]
Banned Books Week is about understanding censorship. The National Council of Teachers of English writes,
"We can safely make two statements about censorship: first, any work is potentially open to attack by someone, somewhere, sometime, for some reason; second, censorship is often arbitrary and irrational. " [http://www.ncte.org/about/over/positions/category/cens/107616.htm]Did you know that people have tried to prevent the teaching of these books?
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Fahrenheit 451
- The Lorax
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- Moby Dick
- Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
- Little House on the Prairie
Banned Books Week celebrates the fact that while the charges against the books may be true -- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer does depict harmful racial stereotypes and attitudes about slavery -- the books still have literary value. They can help us understand our past, and they can be valuable in teaching about issues that still face us today, like race, class, violence, the environment, and censorship.
So, this week, celebrate the freedom to read -- read a banned book!
For more information on Banned Books Week, try the following links:
- American Library Association's Banned Books Week portal
- 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000
- ALA Resource Page for librarians facing book challenges
- National Council of Teachers of English article on preparing for Banned Books Week in the classroom
- NCTE "Students' Right To Read" statement
- ReadWriteThink classroom resources for BBW