Banned Books Week Defends the Right to Read
Banned Books Week has now passed (last week of September), but freedom of expression and the right to read about any subject one chooses is something readers in the United States enjoy year-long. Banned Books Week was first celebrated in 1982 and instigated by librarian and First Amendment activist Judith Krug and the American Library Association.
Book banning has been around for centuries. Homer's Odyssey was once banned in Rome because it expressed ideals of freedom that Rome feared would incite the masses. Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was banned for its biting satire and the Bible's Book of Ruth for its "sex scenes."
Top ten books banned in 2016, starting with #10 along with explanation of why they were challenged:
- Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (offensive language)
- Little Bill by Bill Cosby (criminal sexual allegations against the author)
- Make Something Up: Stories you Can't Unread by Chuck Palahniuk (profanity and sexual explitcitness
- Big Hard Sex Criminals by Max Fraction (sexually explicit)
- Looking for Alaska by John Green (sexually explicit scene)
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (cover has an image of two boys kissing); Hekman Library owns Boy Meets Boy, by same author
- I am Jazz by Herthel and Jennings (portrays a transgender child)
- George by Alex Gino (portrays a transgender child, sexuality not appropriate at elementary school level)
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier (LGBT characters and offensive political viewpoint)
- This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki (LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity)