Posts Tagged ‘Intellectual Freedom’

Did you know that the American Library Association (ALA) – who bestows the John Newbury Medal and Randolph Caldecott Medal (among others) – holds an Annual Banned Book Week? I was very interested in this and went to their web site which has extensive sections on not just their greatest concern – the 1st Amendment – but also lists of the books in question sorted by different criteria.

Among their lists are: the 100 most challenged/banned classics, and the details of who banned/burned/and/or challenged them and why; the most challenged/banned books sorted by decade, author, year, plus statistics.  Some books are banned by entire countries, entire states in our own United States, by schools, religious groups and others. Who would have thought that so many people on the planet thought they had a right to tell us what we can and can’t read?

Looking just at children’s books for a moment, here is a partial list from among 100 books for all age audiences banned or challenged in the last decadeHarry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling (Harry’s number 1!); His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman; Captain Underpants (series), by Dave Pilkey; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; Forever, by Judy Blume; Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous; Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar: In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak; Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson; Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park; A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle; Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine; Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume and oh-so-many more.

What are they kidding me?! Be afraid, people, be very afraid … clearly there are lots of others out there who think they know what’s best for you, me and our children. I am alternately scared, disgusted and outraged. Well, the good thing is that the ALA has this extensive web site which supports intellectual freedom and the upholding of the First Amendment. On the ALA OIF (Office of Intellectual Freedom) section of their site, there are ideas, resources and activities for teachers and parents who believe in the freedom to learn, and various events for the week.

Think you should decide what you and/or your children reads? This may be a site you want to check out.

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