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.
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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. 

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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.”

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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.  

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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

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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

 

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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

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If librar­i­an­ship is the con­nect­ing of peo­ple to ideas…it 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

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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?