Tina Fey and her mateys may yet be the cutest bookaneers
around, but they’re no longer alone: Sept. 29 marked the beginning of Banned Books Week 2007,
and this year they’re riding on First Book’s raggedy coattails with the salty theme,
“Ahoy! Treasure Your Freedom to Read and Get Hooked on a Banned Book.”
Sponsored in part by those crazy intellectual freedom–loving folks over at the ALA
(American Library Association; see a full list of sponsors here),
Banned Books Week celebrates freedom of expression and freedom of access. It’s the perfect time to say thank you to your local
Maria Bello — I mean, librarian —
and this year it’s also a good excuse to say Arrrr and Avast!, especially if you forgot to observe
Talk Like a Pirate Day like I did last month.
On its site, the ALA provides
graphs, including information about
of the preceding year. The 2006 crowd welcomed a newcomer in the top spot, children’s book
That’s right, folks. Don’t let the fuzzy little one fool you; those penguins are evil. So are Harry, Ron and Hermione; the Garcia Girls;
Celie; a certain
caged bird; Beloved and
Carolyn Mackler‘s Butt, at least according to some — usually, it seems, parents who are terribly afraid that their children might read
something other than the half-dozen interesting books that don’t talk about wizards, muggle mind-altering substances, discrimination, abuse, sex or
(even worse) gay sex.
All right; maybe there’s a few more than a half-dozen, but not many. Of Radcliffe Publishing’s
42 have been challenged or banned, including a couple of those mentioned above (The Color Purple and Beloved).
In addition to talking about challenged books, Amnesty International uses this week to talk about
writers and others who are themselves
persecuted for expressing, distributing or reading “unacceptable” texts. It’s easy to take Judy Blume for granted, but I know I’m incredibly lucky to have
had a high school teacher who taught what she believed in, even if it meant using old photocopies instead of approved textbooks (shout out to Ms. Butler, wherever you are).
There are events all over the country
, or you can celebrate by pulling out your copy of Forever and reliving why it still causes such a stir. First, rabblerousers, tell us — what are your
favorite challenged books?