. . .when anyone tries to control what they can read, and know, and ask and talk about. Are you ready to read a banned book tomorrow to help kick off the 30th anniversary of the ALA’s Banned Books Week? We sure are!
See other author and book-champion videos on the dedicated Banned Books Week youtube channel. Play with the interactive “censorship” map of the US here. (Show your kids it’s not just YOUR backward town or state! It’s everywhere!)
Snook posts for Banned Books Week every year — this makes six because the blog started just in time for the 2006 celebration, which was the silver anniversary. Last year’s posts are here: Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same and If I Had a Robot, Would I Hammer in the Morning?
On this notorious day as Americans remember, reconstruct and reject both the best and worst of our national identity all at once — because whatever else we the people may be, we’re never easy! — the images of hate in my mind aren’t of burning towers but burning books, burning flags, burning bigotry and yes, burning flesh.
See a more comprehensive collection of links to explore here: Ideas Are Incombustible! (that means you can’t burn ’em up no matter how big your bonfire.)
But I think the most fun we had discussing Banned Books Week probably was in 2007:
. . . a Maine woman and an Alabama granny-girl combo using the eerily similar publicity stunt of kidnapping a book that shocks them and holding it hostage, supposedly so no one else can ever read it.
LOL – Southern ladies used to be so much more clever with their public manners, to solve such problems with devastating yet impeccably polite little social gambits.
If I were the shocked Granny, I might’ve returned the book immediately to the library desk, wrapped in my crocheted afghan (blushing if possible) to whisper I was sure some awful mistake had been made, probably due to my granddaughter’s innocence and total trust for the school — thank goodness I personally unpack and inspect her school things every day to keep our home tidy between the maid’s afternoons, because her virginal young eyes hadn’t yet opened up the “thing” to behold such unsuitable reading material. As a daughter of the confederacy, I knew what I had to do to protect her, and took it upon myself to get it OUT of the house. I will stand here while you blot her name from the borrowing record for this book at once, and assure me of your discretion!
IN Alabama, that would be so much classier than branding the girl for the world to gawk at, as having been sullied by sexual exposure!
OTOH, if I were the southern school librarian in this story, I could tell the newspaper that I am delighted the whole family cherishes the book and can’t part with it! Why, poor Lysa must’ve been so starved for knowledge of the real world . . .
CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION Brainstorm
The Burning of the Dangerously Bookish
March 29, 2011, 11:13 am
By David Barash
Bertolt Brecht’s poem, “The Burning of the Books”:
When the Regime commanded that books with harmful knowledge
Should be publicly burned and on all sides
Oxen were forced to drag cartloads of books
To the bonfires, a banished
Writer, one of the best, scanning the list of the Burned, was shocked to find that his
Books had been passed over. He rushed to his desk
On wings of wrath, and wrote a letter to those in power ,
Burn me! he wrote with flying pen, burn me! Haven’t my books
Always reported the truth ? And here you are
Treating me like a liar! I command you!