Public libraries across the country, including here in Wyandotte, are encouraging people to peak into some controversial books in honor of this being Banned Books Week.
The annual event has been held since 1982 during the last week of September to remind Americans "not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted," according to the American Library Association.
Kelly Ray, youth librarian at , said the majority of banned books occur in schools, such as a 2008 incident at that gained national media attention.
At that time, The Bookseller of Kabul was removed from the school's library and classrooms because it was deemed too sexually explicit. After much debate, Board of Education members agreed to a compromise where the book was made available again, but those 17 and under had to get parental permission to read it.
Ray said she has never encountered anyone requesting that a book be pulled from the shelves at the public library.
“I think its important that we celebrate Banned Books Week because of our freedom of speech,” she said. “Public libraries especially stand by the ALA (American Library Association) and the right to read whatever you choose to read.”
To celebrate that, Ray posted a list of the top 10 most challenged books of 2010 on the library's Facebook page on Thursday, encouraging readers to celebrate Banned Books Week by reading a banned book.
The book challenged the most in 2010 was And Tango Makes Three, an award-winning children’s picture book that tells the story of two male penguins who hatch an abandoned egg and parent the chick together. The book has been on the list of most frequently challenged books for five years based on complaints that it promotes homosexuality and is unsuitable for its age group.
The Wyandotte library carries the majority of the books on the list and can retrieve the others through an inter-local agreement with area libraries.
Here is the list, courtesy of the American Library Association:
- And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson (Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group)
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and violence)
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism and sexually explicit)
- Crank, by Ellen Hopkins (Reasons: drugs, offensive language and sexually explicit)
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and violence)
- Lush, by Natasha Friend (Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group)
- What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones (Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit and unsuited to age group)
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich (Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint and religious viewpoint)
- Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie (Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit)
- Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer (Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence)