I Read Banned Books. Do You?

Have you read any of the following: Little Women by Louise May Alcott? A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein? A Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle? For Whom the Bell Tolls by Hemingway? Anne Frank’s Diary? James and the Giant Peach by Dahl? Home for a Bunny by Garth Williams? The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie? Avi? Harper Lee? William Steig? Mark Twain? Judy Blume?

I have read a few, but in some places we wouldn’t have been able to. Because at one time or another all these books and authors have been banned from some school and library shelves. Not “a long time ago” but as recent as this year. In 2011 the Huffington Post put together a list of some banned books. The most unusual? The Dictionary. Both the Merriam Webster and American Heritage have had editions banned. Along with, Grapes of Wrath; Sylvester and the Magic Pebble; Beloved; and Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?

To counter this, Judy Blume and other banned authors created a fabulous collection called Places I Never Meant to Be. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Blume, Katherine Paterson and Jacqueline Woodson (three contributors). Delightful people who want to tell us their stories. I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want them to be read! (And I will add, if I ever meet Chris Lynch, Harry Mazer, Walter Dean Myers or any of the others, I’m totally going to geek out! This is how much their works have affected me either as a kid or adult.)

This year marks the American Book Associations 30th year in fighting to allow us “the freedom to read.” Their website continues, “Since 1982, there have been more than 10,000 challenges to books in schools and libraries in the United States—an average of 500 per year.”

I saw a t-shirt that says, “I read banned books.” I do and I hope that you will come to the Northshire Book store not just the week of September 30 to October 6 for Banned Book Week, but every week to buy a book. We have something for everyone and every age.