Picture this: you’re back in elementary school on a chilly fall morning. The year is circa 2005. It is the best day of the school year because of the Scholastic Book Fair! Everyone would buy puppy posters, obnoxious neon erasers that did not work, and other things our parents begged us not to purchase. Then of course, we would pick out our favorite books and eagerly explore the pages. Imagine if you were told you were not allowed to read those books though.
Banned Books Week is a week during the year that celebrates and advocates the freedom to read. We are in the midst of it right now! Whether you are a teacher, student, librarian, bookseller, or general lover of books, there is something for everyone to celebrate this week.
One of the aims of Banned Books Week is to inform people about the drawbacks of strict censorship. Some people or groups want to ban books because of the content within them that may be seen as objectifying or oppressive. While everyone in America is entitled to the freedom of speech, banning books means that they will not be allowed in schools or libraries. Therefore, other people who may be interested in reading those books will not have the chance to.
Thankfully, various teachers, librarians, and students consistently fight for the freedom to read and shed light on the subject. They believe banning books is in direct violation to the freedom of speech.
Banned Books Week has made a brand of itself. They stand for the freedom to read, encourage literary exploration, and the power of words. Their brand has created several different products in an effort support the cause and spread awareness. Banned Books Week offers t-shirts, stickers, mugs, and a variety of other merchandise to help establish and grow the brand.
These products are meant to evoke a call to action and encourage people to speak up. Banned Books Week wants people to share their voices and hear others, despite content that may be deemed as “inappropriate.” This message is particularly appealing to Americans right now, given the tense political climate. People want to have their voice heard and Banned Books Week wants to listen!
Banned Books Week is also promoting this celebration through social media. They started a Twitter movement called, “Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament,” where users are encouraged to take selfies with a banned book or post a quote from their favorite forbidden novel.
Some of the most frequently challenged books include: The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Flies, and even the Harry Potter series. I want you to take a second and imagine what your childhood would be without Harry Potter. Let that sink in.
The Harry Potter books happen to be one of my favorite series! Throughout the years, I have read to escape reality and transport to a different world (like Hogwarts) for a few moments. I think about the joy reading brought me.
Imagine if your favorite book was banned. How would you feel if someone told you that you were not allowed to read it? It would be like someone telling you that you could not watch your favorite show on Netflix. If someone told me I could not watch Stranger Things, I would look a little something like this:
This week I encourage you to read whatever you want to! Go explore another world between the pages! What is your favorite book and how would feel if it was banned? I look forward to reading your responses in the comments!