This literary bonfire is provided by pcorreia and I found in on Flickr. For more photos by this artist, click on the picture!

Happy Banned Book Week!

If you know me, you know that I’m an opinionated person.  I am very strongly opposed to censorship.  I have problems with book banning  and suppression of free speech in any form, including the written word.  New books that make the Banned Book list fly to the top of my reading list because I know there’s a good chance that my ideas will be challenged, my beliefs will be questioned, and my morals will be tested.  If the unexamined life isn’t worth living, these edgy books help us wade into the pool of self-examination.

In 2009, over 450 books were challenged, meaning that someone, somewhere had a problem with the content of a book and has appealed to have it removed from a school or public library.  If you would like to find out more about Banned Book Week, have a look at the American Library Association website.

I wanted to mention a few of the current members of the 2010 Banned Books List and I hope you will add one or more of these to your weekend reading.

  • I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS by Maya Angelou.  This book was challenged in 2009 by the Newman-Crows Landing, California School District on the grounds that the content was inappropriate for children and the white school teachers were not equipped to teach about African American culture.
  • TWISTED by Laurie Halse Anderson.  You’ll remember that I blogged about SPEAK, by the same author.  This book was challenged in Montgomery County, Kentucky for inappropriate content and not being intellectually challenging enough for a college prep classes.
  • THE HOUSE OF NIGHT SERIES by P.C. and Kristin Cast.  This book series was banned from the Henderson Junior High School in the Stephenville, Texas Independent School District.  This isn’t just one book; this is a series of books.  An incomplete series.  So they’ve actually banned books that have yet to be written.
  • ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL by Anne Frank.  This book was challenged by Culpeper County, Va. Public school in 2010.  The school district decided not to assign this book due to sexual and homosexual content.  After much national attention, the school district decided to teach the book at a higher grade level.
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee.  This is one of my favorite books.  It was challenged in 2009 by St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada for the language.
  • THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER COLLEGIATE DICTIONARY.  Was challenged in the Menifee, California Union School District in 2010 because one student came across the term “oral sex” in the dictionary.  The School district is now considering a permanent ban.
  • THE TWILIGHT SERIES by Stephanie Meyers.  This series was banned in 2009 in Australia because the books are too racy.  Students were asked to leave their personal copies at home, too.

For the full list of the 2010 banned books, look here.  You can also get a list of the most frequently challenged books.

If you’ve read one of the banned books on the list, tell me about it!  How do you feel about Banned Book Week?  And how would you feel if a book you wrote showed up on this list?