Banned Books Week

7 10 2009

Somehow Banned Books Week passed me by. It’s not the only thing I missed. Juggling so many projects causes me to totally lose track of time. But I did want to give a shout out to this Banned Books Week topic at Lily Stone’s blog: Should This Cover Be Banned?

When I was a librarian, I always got excited when Banned Books Week arrived, because I loved putting up Banned Books displays and hearing people say, “That was banned?” Then they’d stare in horror at some of the classics, and many of their favorite titles.

Once when I was putting up a Banned Books display in a case at a nearby mall, a man almost physically attacked me because I put a Bible in the shelf. He elbowed me aside and snatched the Bible. A tug of war ensued; I wasn’t about to let him steal library property.

I tried to “talk him down” by sympathizing with his distress. I agreed the Bible should have never been banned. Nor, I pointed out, should the other books. As I talked, he reluctantly loosened his grip, and eventually went away muttering that people who banned books should be shot. Not exactly my intent, but I did manage to get my point across.

IslandSting_300

Now I’m championing another cause: a banned book cover. Lily Stone’s blog gave most of the facts. Some teachers don’t want this cover in their classrooms because of the bullet holes and blood.

Should you ban a book cover as too violent  if the story’s about endangered Key deer being poached? And what about the educational value author Bonnie J. Doerr packed into its pages? As a former Science teacher, Doerr wants to get teens excited about caring for the environment. She’s planned lessons to relate the novel to many different areas of the curriculum. Wouldn’t it be a shame if this message never reached the intended audience?

I love Banned Books week because it represents freedom of choice–a privilege supported by the U.S. Constitution. Let’s allow our writers and artists to create by appreciating their visions rather than banning them.

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