Next week is Banned Books Week – a holiday with which you may not be familiar, but trust me, it’s big news around libraries.
You see, libraries promote the Freedom to Read – read whatever you want, even if other people don’t like it. Just as importantly, don’t read whatever you don’t want! If you don’t like a book, that’s perfectly fine – just don’t tell anyone else they’re not allowed to read it.
There’s a lot to Banned Books Week, probably more than I can cover in a blog post written from the Children’s Department. For more information, feel free to read a Banned Books Week primer here. For parents, I encourage you to take away this: talk to your kids about what they’re reading! It is your right to monitor content and protect your children from things they’re not ready for. But you probably wouldn’t want someone else making rules for your child, so no one person should try to declare a book inappropriate for all. Ask what your kids are reading, and ask how they feel about it. Be involved, and be open-minded.
In honor of Banned Books Week, here are a few of the most challenged children’s books of the last 15 years, along with the reasons for the challenge, according to the American Library Association. Read them! Or don’t! Whatever you do, know that the choice is yours alone.
Recommended for Pre-School & Elementary Age:
Reasons for challenge include: “anti-family,” “homosexuality,” “political viewpoint,” and “religious viewpoint.”
Reasons for challenge include: “nudity,” “sex education,” “sexually explicit.”
Reasons for challenge include: “homosexuality and unsuited to age group.”
Recommended for 3rd Grade and Up:
Reasons for challenge include: “offensive language,” “violence,” and “unsuited for age group.”
Reasons for challenge include: “occult/Satanism.”
Reasons for challenge include: “occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence.”
Will you make an effort to read banned books? If you do, why not take a “shelfie” and share it on Social Media, #NPLbannedbooks. Posting before October 3rd (with the hashtag!) qualifies you to win Banned Books Week prizes from NPL!