Banned Books Week

Why would anybody want to ban “The Great Gatsby”?

Every year, individuals and groups ask for books to be removed from the shelves of school and public libraries. They do so for various reasons, many connected to intolerance for a freedom that the American Library Association (ALA) proudly supports: the freedom for individuals to decide for themselves what they want to read.

Banned Books Week is celebrated the last week of September. It’s an initiative led by the ALA which keeps count of attempted book bannings reported each year. In 2009, approximately 460 attempts were reported. Some of the challenged books have acquired classic status, such as “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, and “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck.

Books challenged in 2009 included “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, a children’s book based on a true story about two male penguins that care for a baby penguin; the hugely popular “Twilight” vampire series by Stephenie Meyer; “The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger; and “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler, an award-winning novel about a 15-year-old girl with a plus size body and an inferiority complex to match. Banned books come in all sizes, too.

Support the freedom to read. Check out a Banned Book from your library.

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