Banned Books Week

September 18, 2022

This week, September 18-24, 2022, is Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information.

Earlier this year, in support of the work of PEN America, Sotheby’s auctioned a specially created fireproof edition of Margaret Atwood’s bestseller and often banned book The Handmaid’s Tale. The book sold through an online auction for $130,000 and a short video captures Atwood torching her book.

More on author/poet/activist Margaret Atwood. Most-challenged book lists from the American Library Association. Poetry’s Place in the History of Banned Books from the Academy of American Poets. A long list of resources for Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week

September 26, 2021

Banned Books Week starts today, Sunday, September 26, 2021, and continues through Saturday, October 2.

What are you reading? Perhaps it’s time for a title from one of the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists. ALA doesn’t categorize banned or challenged books by genre, but there are a number of poetry titles on this list of Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books. What will you read next?

on poetry

May 3, 2021

“Look, words are like the air: they belong to everybody. Words are not the problem; it’s the tone, the context, where those words are aimed, and in whose company they are uttered. Of course murderers and victims use the same words, but I never read the words utopia, or beauty, or tenderness in police descriptions. Do you know that the Argentinean dictatorship burnt The Little Prince? And I think they were right to do so, not because I do not love The Little Prince, but because the book is so full of tenderness that it would harm any dictatorship.”
Juan Gelman
(May 3, 1930 – January 14, 2014)

Freedom to Read Week

February 22, 2021

It’s Freedom to Read Week in Canada, which, like Banned Books Week (September 26 – October 2, 2021) in the U.S., raises awareness about intellectual freedom and threats to free speech. Visit the Freedom to Read website to find out more about the freedom to read on the north side of the border, including Censorship at the Canadian border, 1985-2020 and Bannings and Burnings in History. What are you reading?

sign of the times

September 27, 2020

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) begins today and, along with lists of challenged books and downloadable infographics, the American Library Association (ALA) is offering a variety of items for purchase, including face masks for kids and adults.

what are YOU reading?

September 27, 2019

It’s Banned Books Week. Learn more about where poetry fits in the history of censorship and find out much more about Frequently Challenged Books with statistics provided by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association.

what are YOU reading?

September 25, 2018

It’s Banned Books Week. What are you reading? Here’s a 15-book (or play) introduction to Poetry’s Place in the History of Banned Books and below is an infographic showing last year’s ten most-banned books (click for larger version):

Banned Books Week

September 26, 2016

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is September 25 through October 1, 2016. There are a lot of resources on the Banned Books Week website and more information, including a list of the top ten most challenged books of 2015, on the website of the American Library Association. At this link you can also add the I READ BANNED BOOKS flag to your Facebook or Twitter profile.

If you’re not sure what to read, have a look at this “Banned Books” article from the Academy of American Poets.

Banned Books Week

September 22, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

Imagine contemporary poetry without Leaves of Grass or Howl. In fact, Whitman and Ginsberg are just two of the poets whose work has been “challenged” with the goal of removing it from libraries, schools, bookshelves, hands and minds.

The freedom to read what we want is not universal. Banned Books Week celebrates that freedom, highlighting the value of free and open access to information and supporting the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

For more information, visit your local library or bookstore, Banned Books Week online and Banned Books Week on Facebook. See Boynton Blog posts from 2012 and 2013. See a post on “Dangerous American Poets” from the Banned & Dangerous Art seminar the the University of Mary Washington. See a list of Frequently challenged books of the 21st century (through 2013). See planned events state by state. Show your support for the freedom to read by adding a “twibbon” to your social media. Read!

Read!

September 20, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013

Next week, September 22-28, 2013, is Banned Books Week. Now in its 31st year, Banned Books Week calls attention to issues of censorship and challenges to the freedom to read. It invites people who value the written word to celebrate that First Amendment freedom — if not year-round, then at least for this one week.

Wondering what to do? View or download (PDF) a bibliography of books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2012 and 2013 as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2012 to May 2013…and choose a title to read from the list. Participate in a Virtual Read-Out. Read some banned or challenged poetry, such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, The Bean Eaters by Gwendolyn Brooks, or A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein. Look for Banned Books Week exhibits and events scheduled at your local independent bookstore or library.

A few more resources: Banned Books Week on the American Library Association website. The Banned Books Week website. A list of the ten most-challenged titles by year, 2000-2012. Banned Books Week on Facebook.

Not everybody can read what they want to read. Don’t take it for granted.

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