Banned Books Week has officially begun! This week on The Unapologetic Bookworm, we’re going to be focusing on the topic of censorship, as well as the importance of reading banned books.
“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”Stephen Chbosky
Whether you are planning to celebrate/observe Banned Books Week, or are just interested in learning more about it, I highly recommend checking out the Banned Books Week website. It is a great place to find information and resources, as well as virtual and in-person events that you can take part in this week. The “promotional tools” on this website will definitely be of interest to teachers and librarians, as well as my fellow book and/or education bloggers.
You can also find some great resources through the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom website. Their Banned and Challenged Books page includes information about the history of Banned Books Week, lists of frequently challenged books, and a place to report censorship. (They also have some pretty cool merchandise, such as: bookmarks and classroom posters, tote bags, bracelets, coffee mugs, face masks, and other apparel.)
The website also offers some great free downloads, which compile censorship data from 2019 into an easy-to-follow format. If you have the opportunity to take a look at these resources, I think you’ll be surprised by some of the statistics.
While I know that many of us will be making a point of reading a banned book during this week, I want to issue an additional challenge. My challenge for you is to make a point of talking about censorship and/or a banned book that had a significant positive impact on you as a reader (either as a child or adult). You could complete this challenge by having a conversation with someone, or by posting your thoughts on your own blog (or your preferred social media account).
Personally, I will be posting several articles on this topic throughout the week, but I would love to hear your responses as well. If you’d like to share your thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment on this post, or send me a DM on Twitter. You can find me on Twitter @UnapologBkworm.
I hope you’ll join me this week in shining a light on censorship, and reaffirming the importance of reading banned books.