Everyday in America someone tries to ban a book. The American Library Association reports 326 challenges in 2011. A challenge is more than a person being annoyed with a book, it is a person telling the library they don’t want anyone else to read the book. That is censorship in its most basic form.
And these books are not always the most controversial ones – sometimes they are classics that have been on the shelf for years. Here are the most challenged books of 2011:
- ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
- The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
- The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (series)
- My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
- Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Celebrating Banned Books Week is about the freedom to read and that takes us beyond the printed paper. For the internet it means supporting free and open access to information – a fundamental right and need in countries all around the world.
So take a chance this week, read a banned book and support someone else’s right to do so.
A final word from David Brin on freedom of speech:
Freedom of speech is not a gift from on high. It was not declared by God. It is not holy, or even natural. No other human society ever practiced it. Even we, who are loony enough to consider it sacred, don’t practice it very well. Yet, although it runs against every tyrannical impulse of human nature… impulses to suppress whatever that loudmouth fool over there is saying… the fact is that we try to live by it. Not because free speech is holy, or natural, but because it works. Because it is pragmatic. Because it allows the rapid generation of a multitude of ideas, most of which are chaff, and then allows those notions to be criticized by other egotistical people, so that a fair percentage of the best ideas rise, and most garbage eventually sinks.