Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: Read all about it
Sat Sep 25, 1:44 pm ET

Maybe you won't be surprised to learn that some offended readers have tried to limit access to "The Color Purple," with its depictions of race and abuse. Or "Heather Has Two Mommies."

But "Fahrenheit 451" -- a book about censorship?

Or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary?

Or perennial kindergarten favorite "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

Those are just three of the books that Associated Content's Pam Gaulin unearthed in a piece on 10 banned books you might not expect.

For nearly 30 years, the American Library Association has observed Banned Books Week, an annual tribute to the First Amendment and the "freedom to read." This year's just began; it runs throughout the coming week, Sept. 25 to Oct. 2.

But even the event itself has not been without controversy, writes Sylvia Cochran of Associated Content in a brief history of Banned Books Week: In 2002, the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family said the ALA had "irresponsibly perpetrated the 'banned' books lie for too long" and was trying to disguise the creep of explicit literature into children's lives. Another group, Family Friendly Libraries, says the ALA's "annual publicity campaign" seeks to undermine communities' right to request that objectionable material be reshelved or removed.

Most challenges to books are filed by parents, and the most common reason is sexually explicit content, according to Cochran's Q&A on how books get banned.

As for how "Brown Bear, Brown Bear" got on the list: Turns out that was a goof, writes Pam Gaulin of Associated Content.

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