Hello my Firehouse friends. Let's talk about Banned Books Week.
I feel like Banned Books Week (BBW) is something nearly every book-lover has heard of and knows about. I'm sure many people have read banned books in their life, whether they were aware of it or not. But I think many of us lack a deeper understanding of BBW, where it came from, when it started, and what people are fighting against by participating.
The first BBW was held back in 1982. That's just over 30 years ago. It was a response to the sudden increase of challenges being made against books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Over the course of those 30-plus years, more than 11,300 books have been challenged. Just in 2012 there were 464 books challenged. And every September, BBW sends its own challenge right back.
People from all over the nation and from all different kinds of bookish entities come together in September to bring awareness to the problem of censorship. Libraries and bookstores create displays highlighting banned books, some published years and years ago and some published within the last year. Publishers, journalists, teachers and readers all play their part in advocating the freedom to read.
Banned Books Week, at its very core, is about freedom (ugh, I sound like I'm about to segue into a bad political ad). It's about upholding the right of the reader to have absolute choice in what he or she decides to read. It's about exploring and learning and sharing new things. It's about encouraging growth, in many ways: growth of an individual, a family, a community. Things should not be censored just because they may be unpopular or against the norm. In a world that has near unlimited access to information, banning books seems like a very foolish practice indeed.
Okay, enough preaching. Let's get to the books!
Here are a few books us bookstore employees are reading for BBW:
Justin: 1984 by George Orwell
Kelsey: Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Teresa: Native Son by Richard Wright
Rebecca: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Paxton: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K Rowling
Yours truly is reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut.
If you're interested in seeing what other books have been banned or challenge in the last year, click here to see a list.
If you want to see what classic books have been banned, you can click here.
Banned Books Week will take place from September 22-28 this year. Stop by the Firehouse for all your banned book needs!
Keep reading my friends, no matter what anyone else says.