Banned Books Week
September 24 – October 1, 2011 marks this year’s annual Banned Books Week where readers are asked to celebrate the freedom to read and to remember the importance of the First Amendment. The motto for this year is, “Think For Yourself and Let Others Do the Same.”
We humans and felines of the What the Cat Read crew have celebrated Banned Books Week for well over 13+ years. Each year we select a book from the many that are banned and/or challenged to read and share with friends and fellow book lovers. This year Buggy, who is celebrating her first year as a Banned Books reader, got to select the book that would be read and reviewed. Her choice, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the purrfect book to read in our humble opinion as it has been challenged repeatedly throughout the years and deals with the very thing that Banned Books Week is about: Censorship. However, before we get to her review, let’s first take a quick look into what the differences are between a banned book and a challenged book, as well as who does the banning/challenging and why.
A banned book is a novel that has been removed entirely from a library(ies), school(s), and in some rare cases states and/or countries. A challenged book, however, is one wherein a person or group has attempted to remove/restrict access to a novel based on personal objections to the book’s content.
Challenges are often motivated by parents with the idea of protecting children from “questionable” behavior, “inappropriate” sexual content, or “offensive” language. There are also those who challenge books because they feel it is “offensive to a minority group” or because the book focuses on a period in time/events that they feel are best left unspoken of. In short, books can be challenged by just about anyone and for any reason. However, due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, fellow parents, students, and other individuals, most challenges prove unsuccessful.
So where do we stand on the issue? Well obviously we are against the banning and censoring of books. In our humble opinion, if you don’t like what a book is about, then don’t read it or write your own book about a subject you prefer. As the motto clearly says, “Think for yourself and let other’s do the same.”
You can read more about the event by visiting ALA Banned Books Week website.