Summer is unfortunately coming to an end, but you know what that means: Banned Books Week is upon us!!!  This year, you can celebrate the freedom to read from September 27 until October 3, 2015.  Libraries, bookstores, and schools throughout the country observe this magical week that draws attention to censorship.  Not only does it teach us the importance of our first amendment rights, it also highlights the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.


And banned books week isn’t just for Americans; Amnesty International celebrates by highlighting individuals who have been persecuted because of writings they produce, read, or circulate.  They draw attention to human rights violations and the price people pay for expressing controversial or antisocial views.  


This year the American Library Association is focusing on Young Adult books.  According to Judith Platt, the chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, “Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book.  These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends.  These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices.”


It’s a week that celebrates autonomy and freedom of expression (some of my favorite things)!  You can celebrate by going to your favorite bookstore (Kards Unlimited, obviously!), or library; or participate in a “read out” by reading passages from your favorite banned book.  There are tons of ways to celebrate!  Come to Kards Unlimited and we’ll recommend our favorite banned books.  We also have bookmarks and bracelets with a banned books theme.  


Did you know that the dictionary is banned in certain US states because of inappropriate words like “penis” and “oral sex”?  Seriously?  They banned the dictionary?  That kind of censorship and youth babying is atrocious.  Here are some quotes about censorship by some free-thinking masters:


“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”-Mark Twain


“It’s not just the books under fire now that worry me.  It is the books that will never be written.  The books that will never be read.  And all due to the fear of censorship.  As always, young readers will be the real losers.”-Judy Blume



“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.”-Ben Franklin


“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”-Joseph Brodsky


“If librarianship is the connecting of people to is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas.”-Graceanne A. Decandidio


“Books won’t stay banned.  They won’t burn.  Ideas won’t go to jail.  In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost.”-Alfred Whitney Griswold


“Yes, books are dangerous.  They should be dangerous -- they contain ideas.”-Pete Hautman

And...Dave Pilkey, the author of Captain Underpants, has some things to say about censorship.


Here are some, though definitely not all, of the banned and challenged books Kards Unlimited carries:

Lolita-Banned in South Africa, France, UK, Argentina, and New Zealand for being obscene. (Banned in 1955)

1984-Almost banned by UK and USA in the 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis; banned by Soviet Union in 1950, as Stalin thought it was a satire of his leadership

Lady Chaterley’s Lover-Temporarily banned in US and UK for violating obscenity laws (Banned in 1929)

Frankenstein-Banned in apartheid South Africa for obscene and indecent material (Banned in 1955)

50 Shades of Grey series-Banned in Malaysia for containing sadistic material deemed a “threat to morality.”  (2015)

Diary Of a Young Girl-Banned in Lebanon for portraying Jews, Israel, and Zionism favorably

Catch-22-Banned in several US states. (currently)

Brave New World-Banned in Ireland and Australia because of references to sexual promiscuity (Banned in 1932)

Animal Farm-Although it was completed in 1943, no publisher would print it due to its criticism of USSR (an important ally of Britain during WWII).  Also banned in communist countries and USSR.  (Finally published in 1945)

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-Banned in province of Hunan, China for portraying anthropomorphized animals acting as humans.  The censor General Ho Chien believed attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans.  (Banned in 1931)

So, what do you think?