fight for your right...TO READ!!

Every year the American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week. This year we celebrate on September 25, 2010-October 2, 2010. The best way to explain what challenged and banned books are comes from the American Library Association's definition,

"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice."

According to the American Library Association, these are the Top 25 Banned Books of 2009:

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan

For the full Top 100 list by the ALA, click here.

Imagine your teen angst again, the way you connected with Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye; think of the way that Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird made you stop and really think about bigotry and all the forms that it comes in; remember a time when you, like Jonas in The Giver, were at a precipice, having to choose between the easy and the unknown. Books have the power to take us to far away places; make us feel understood; allow us to dream the impossible; force us to stop and examine ourselves, our worlds and the truths we believe in. Fight unnecessary book banning!

Celebrate Banned Books Week by:
  • checking out a challenged or banned book from your local library
  • dressing up like a character from one of your favorite challenged/banned books and going to work (this will give you an opportunity for a "teaching moment," when others may ask why you are dressed up like Harry Potter/Laura Ingalls Wilder/Atticus Finch/Pantalaimon)
  • in conversation answer with direct quotes from any challenged/banned books (*Extra points for using different voices/accents*)
  • staging a reading from a banned book in your classroom/for your coworkers/while waiting in the line at Taco Bell
Other ways to celebrate:
Amnesty International's website, is celebrating Banned Books by focusing on drawing attention to those persecuted for their written words, those who are "persecuted because of the writings that they produce, circulate or read."


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