Banned Books Week is a designated week in the US, during which banned or challenged books are celebrated. It was first created in 1982 in attempt to bring awareness to all the books that have been banned. Banned Books Week usually occurs on the fourth week of September, but that sometimes varies. This year (2013) Banned Books Week will start on September 22 and end on September 28.
For more information go to the website dedicated to Banned Books Week or The American Library Association’s website dedicated for banned and challenged books.
WHAT IS A BANNED OR CHALLENGED BOOK?
A banned or challenged book is a book that has been, well for lack of better words to explain, banned or challenged somewhere. Banned and challenged books become banned or challenged books when someone (or thing) decides to challenge other people’s right to read that book or the ability of someplace to sell and promote the book.
WHY ARE BOOKS BANNED OR CHALLENGED?
Usually books are banned or challenged because of the content they contain and because of personal reasons. Some people in communities that disagree with the content of the book will try to prevent other people from being “exposed” to the content. For example, a “concerned” mother might not look to kindly on her son reading a book about wizards and witches because of her religion. Because of that, she might file a complaint and attempt to block other children in her community from reading that book. (FYI, the book I’m referring to is Harry Potter). Other problems with content include bad language, mentions of sex, drugs, alcohol, touchy subjects like abuse, and other “inappropriate” behavior.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BANNED AND CHALLENGED BOOKS?
Banned books are books that are entirely removed from libraries, schools, bookstores, and such in certain communities. Challenged books are books that are restricted and sometimes removed.
SOME EXAMPLES OF BANNED BOOKS:
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (for mentioning drug, alcohol, and suicide, and being unsuitable for the targeted age group).
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (because of the views of certain religions).
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky (because it “deals with drugs, alcohol, sex, homosexuality, and abuse”).
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (because of “inappropriate language”).
This list could go on forever. Those are just a tiny, tiny, sample of books that were banned.
IDEAS TO “CELEBRATE” BANNED BOOKS WEEK
- Read a banned or challenged book
- Spread the word about Banned Books Week
- Spread the word about banned or challenged book
- Get someone to try a reading a banned book
- Get involved!