September 27 through October 4 is banned books week. Here's a short list of the books most requested to be banned last year, according to the American Library Association:
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
- Olive's Ocean by Kevin Henkes
- The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- TTYL by Lauren Myracle
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
That's quite a list of books, including some classics. Why anyone with a functioning mind would want to ban these books is beyond me. Thankfully, I've never heard of such a person. Generally, the books in that list have been opposed by one narrow-minded religious group or another. While I don't think anyone should have this power, this is the last group of people I'd want banning books.
So, if you can, read a banned book this week. For instance, there's this heartwarming tale of a dog and his human friends. As the ALA points out, there are other ways you can help. Not the least of them is to report attempts to ban books.
When it's OK to ban books, any book can be banned. The marketplace of ideas is where the worth of books should be determined, not in the minds of people who fear ideas that differ from their own.
(h/t NP at The Coffee Stained Writer, from whom I borrowed several links.)