Why Do We Have Banned Books Week?

It’s that time of the year! Tomorrow starts banned book week, a week where we celebrate and discuss banned books. What is a banned book you might ask? Banned books are books or printed writing that has been removed from libraries, schools, bookstores, etc. due to controversial content. A book can be challenged by a parent whose child is attending a school and has a book on their curriculum/in their library. While these books do become banned, there’s a large population of people who disagree. A challenged book, however, is different.  According to the ALA, a challenged book is any book that someone has made an attempt to remove or restrict books or written material, based on that person’s opinions and perceptions of the book or material. This means they although some tried to remove it, it didn’t get banned/removed.

Why do we have banned book week? 

We celebrate banned book week annually every September because the freedom we have to read all different types of books! It’s important to read these banned books, talk about them, and advocate for them. This week allows us to remember that there’s books every year getting challenged, banned, or censored in libraries and schools. It allows people like librarians, teachers, publishers, readers, etc. to discuss ALL books! Whenever we talk about these books in September, it lets everyone know, not that bookish people, that books are still being censored and we need to talk about them. This is a worldwide event, not just in North America!

When did we start banned book week?

Banned Books Week began in the 1980s when books were endlessly getting challenged. There had been many protests involving banned books, specifically due to the Island Trees School District, v. Pico in 1982, a Supreme Court case that eventually ruled that schools can’t ban the books in their libraries simply because of their content. That same year, banned books were shown at the American Booksellers Association BookExpo (sound familiar?) in a large case near the front of the convention. It basically portrayed that people found these books dangerous.

What causes a book to get banned?

There is many different things that can allow a book to get banned or even challenged. Here’s a list of the most common reasons books are banned:

  • sexually explicit content
  • cursing
  • violence
  • lgbtq+
  • religious affiliations or blasphemous language
  • witchcraft and the occult (lol)
  • drug use/abuse
  • age inappropriate

Reasons for book challenges: LGBTQIA+, political viewpoint, obscenity, profanity, nudity, violence, sex education, cultural insensitivity, religious viewpoint, dirty magazines, teen suicide, pornographic, glorifies criminals

Who bans books?

Who initiates challenges in 2018. 13% board/administration 10% librarians/teachers 6% political/religious groups 3% elected officials 3% students

What books are banned?

Here’s the most popular banned books:

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

& MANY, MANY MORE. I’ll be highlighting some and writing several blog posts about books that are banned this week! Stay tuned for those. 🙂Image result for banned book week display 1982

Sources:

 

Over on my Tumblr, I asked you guys to share with me the banned books that make you MOST angry. Here’s the link to that post!

 

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