Thursday, August 21, 2008

What is a Banned Book?

From the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

What is a banned or challenged book, you ask? A challenged book is a book that someone has asked to be removed from a library or store because they object to its content. A banned book is a book that has actually been removed from a library or store. Teen books are particularly vulnerable to challenges because, well, they are read by teens. Some adults believe that teens don't have the ability to choose what book is right for them. They may believe that books with objectionable content will corrupt your young minds.

According to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom, the most challenged book of 2007 was And Tango Makes Three. This is a children's book about two male penguins raising a baby together. Another title that is often on the annual Most Frequently Challenged Book List is The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This book is by Stephen Chbosky, a Pittsburgh native. Some reasons that are cited for the banning of this book include homosexual characters and offensive language.

Please choose a title to read from ALA's 2007 list of most challenged books.

Here are a few other web resources about Intellectual Freedom:

AS IF! Authors Support Intellectual Freedom
This blog features many teen fiction authors, such as Cecil Castellucci Brent Hartinger, David Levithan, E. Lockart, Jordan Sonneblick, and many, many more!

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund started in 1986 and its purpose is to fight for the First Amendment rights of graphic novel artists.

National Coalition Against Censorship
This group is literally a coalition of 50 different non-profit organizations who have aligned to fight censorship. They are an Intellectual Freedom voltron of sorts.

Happy Banned Reading!

1 comment: said...

"A banned book is a book that has actually been removed from a library or store."

False. No books have been banned in the USA for a very long time measured in decades. Removing educationally unsuitable material is perfectly legal, as Board of Education v. Pico tells us.

AsIf! is an excellent link but the others you provide are one-sided. So for a little balance, here's Tom Sowell: "Hogwash is Happening."

It is sad to see a public library provide such a one-sided view. Makes me curious about whether your library policy follows community law or follows the ALA's direction.