Banned Books Week! What is it? Why does it happen? Who started it? What are the most commonly banned books and why are they banned? These are questions I had when I first heard about Banned Books Week and today I’m going to answer these questions.
What is Banned Books Week?
Banned Books Week is a campaign of awareness that takes place in the last full week of September and is meant to bring attention to banned and censored books.
Why does Banned Books Week Happen?
Banned Books Week happens because of all the literary works that have been banned and censored over time. It is a campaign sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and is used to celebrate people’s freedom to read what they like. Over the course of this week people are encouraged to speak out about these books and speak out about the freedom to read in libraries and in schools.
Who started it?
Banned Books Week was started in 1982 and was co-founded by Judith Krug, an American librarian. She was a huge supporter of freedom of speech and spoke out against censorship.
What are the most commonly banned books and why are they banned?
The ALA releases a list every year of the most reported books for that year. Between 2000 and 2009 they said there were, “1,577 challenges due to ‘sexually explicit’ material [and] 1,291 challenges due to ‘offensive language’.” For the full list of reports you can see the list here.
As for the most banned books, it’s a little difficult to find out which these are as every website seems to list different ones. However, there are some titles that seem to stick out on more than one list. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Animal Farm by George Orwell are just a few. For a longer list you can check out the ALA Website or my post from earlier this week.
And why are they banned? There’s various reasons. From sexual content to profane language; from violence to homosexuality. These books are banned and censored for a wide variety of reasons, and I’m going to say the same thing I’ve said all week and that many others have said before me. If you don’t want to read the book, don’t read it, but don’t prevent other from doing the same.
What do you think? Should we still have a Banned Books Week?