Sep 25 2013
Can you guess what the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Invisible Man, The Words of Cesar Chavez and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all have in common? They were all books that were banned at some point in the United States.
This week we celebrate Banned Books Week which was launched in 1982 by the American Library Association. In case you thought that book banning was an archaic, medieval practice, it turns out that just last year the Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom received 464 challenges to various books. One of the most challenged titles was the children’s book, Captain Underpants, followed by The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
Books are banned by a variety of institutions for many different reasons. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953, was very recently removed from all school libraries in Randolph County, North Carolina. The school board voted 5 to 2 to remove the title after reading a parent’s 12 page letter of complaint against it.
But many books are banned simply because they are too politically radical. In Tuscon, Arizona the school board removed all books which dealt with Chicano or Mexican American history. And in Alabama, Republican State Senator Bill Holtzclaw is calling for a ban on Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Bluest Eye.
GUEST: Deborah Caldwell-Stone, Deputy Director in the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
Find out more at www.bannedbooksweek.org.