This year, the event features work by Ellen Hopkins, a young adult author who was recently banned from speaking at an Oklahoma middle school when a parent complained about her novels. . .her “Manifesto” for Banned Books Week 2009:
To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.
You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones do break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.
You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.
A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
Snook and Favorite Daughter celebrate Banned Books Week every year, and this year has the added excitement of being the first since Favorite Daughter declared her intention to become a professional librarian. For never-banned classics here, try:
And point of personal privilege, let’s include Sarah Palin’s “actual responsibilities” for book-banning as mayor . . .
“Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”
—Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas