What do the Harry Potter series, Catcher in the Rye, The Lorax, Of Mice and Men and James and the Giant Peach all have in common?
They’ve all been banned from library bookshelves!
Surprised? If so, you’d be amazed by some of the books that have been banned or challenged at one point or another for a variety of reasons (“bad grammar,” “too depressing,” “profanity,” etc.). Sunday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week (9/30 – 10/6), an annual campaign to bring awareness to issues of censorship. During this week, which marks its 30th anniversary this year, librarians, journalists, readers and writers come together to celebrate intellectual freedom and the right to write and read whatever their hearts desire. (If you thought book banning was an antiquated issue, check out this infographic of the top 10 most challenged books of the year).
There are lots of ways to get involved and support our First Amendment rights. You can review the lists of banned or challenged books — check one out at your local library or add one to your own collection. Or, join the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out, a dedicated YouTube channel that collects videos of people reading banned books. (Hear author Stephen Chbosky read from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, for example.)
You can also spread the word by watching and sharing this video made by Bookmans, a chain of independent bookstores in Arizona.