Every year, readers around the country celebrate banned books by telling their stories, hosting giveaways, and raising awareness about censorship. (I meant to post this earlier, but life got in the way. Better late than never!)
The first time I heard anything about this kind of censorship was in learning about World War II. Nazis and Nazi sympathizers burned books that were thought of as having values opposed to the Nazi regime. Then I watched a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as a freshman in high school. The story is about a futuristic society where books are completely banned and destroyed when found. So to me, this idea that books could be kept from the public was a tragedy of history or a horror of the imagination.
Then Harry Potter happened. I heard about parents being upset, but I still didn't realize books were actually being removed from libraries. I'm sure in the years after that, I came to understand the reality of book banning, but I'd fallen away from reading extensively and I wasn't paying attention to the world of books.
All that changed when I became a book blogger. The ugly truth of book banning reveals itself all too often. Even very recently, one of my absolute favorite books of this year, Eleanor & Park, was not only banned, but the author, Rainbow Rowell, had her invitation to speak at a public library rescinded (read more about that here).
What makes me saddest, and also thankful, is in looking at the lists provided by the American Library Association of frequently banned/challenged books. I recognize so many books I read as a middle school student/teenager on those lists, and not one of those books were a detriment to my life. Despite living in a moderately small Southern town, those books, books like The Giver, A Separate Peace, Scary Stories, Killing Mr. Griffin, and My Brother Sam is Dead, were readily available and even encouraged. I feel like I'm one of the lucky ones, and I hope, for the sake of all the kids who love reading or may need one of those stories that appears on those lists, that book banning becomes a thing of the past.
And now, if you'd like to win a paperback copy of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (the 60th most banned/challenged book from 2000-2009), just use the Rafflecopter widget below! All my regular rules apply (which you can find here) and the giveaway ends 11:59pm September 30th.