Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
-The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
The importance of the First Amendment and the concept of "intellectual freedom" might not always be readily apparent to most kids, but Banned Books Week is a great opportunity to make those lessons come alive for children — and adults.
Banned Books Week, held annually during the last week of September, is an occasion for libraries and bookstores across the U.S. to help folks realize just how real and ongoing a problem censorship really is.
Find out more about banned books at your local library
The Lemont Public Library will mark the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week with displays featuring commonly banned and challenged books. Visit the library to learn more about books that have been recently challenged — and how libraries have played a major role in “30 years of liberating literature.”
The library also invites patrons to challenge their minds by entering a trivia contest to test their knowledge of banned books — and earn a chance to win prizes.
The teen area of the library is also participating in the Banned Books Week by challenging teens to read one or more of the books on the banned or challenged list, explain why the book they read was banned, and turn in their answers for a chance to win a prize.
For more information contact Alison Colman at 630-257-6541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about banned and challenged books
More than 11,000 books have been challenged (though not necessarily successfully censored) since 1982, the inaugural year of Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the vast majority of challenges to books are initiated locally by parents, likely in well-meaning attempts to protect their children.
Last year, there were 326 challenges reported to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, based on everything from offensive language, to violence, insensitivity, religious viewpoint and sexual explicitness. In addition to those challenges, the ALA estimates that as many as 60 to 70 percent of challenges may go unreported.
Over the past year, the 10 most challenged titles were:
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
2. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
3. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
6. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
8. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
9. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Among banned and challenged classics you’re likely familiar with are:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Ulysses by James Joyce
- The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
- The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
- Beloved and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
- In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
If you’re interested in celebrating Banned Books Week as part of a lesson for your kids—or simply to feel like a rebellious reader—check out these additional resources:
- Mapping Censorship, a visual representation of places books have been challenged in the US, created from cases documented by the ALA and the Kids’ Right to Read Project
- Virtual Read-Out, a worldwide celebration of the freedom to read, featured on a dedicated Banned Books Week YouTube channel
- State-by-state listing of BBW events
- Banned Books Week on Facebook and Twitter
- Free BBW downloads from the ALA, like badges and Facebook cover art
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There are plenty of ways to keep up on Lemont news: