Banned Books Week fights censorship

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

book protesters
Rain won’t stop these students and community members from protesting the removal of their favorite books.

Imagine sitting on a beanbag, gliding your fingers over the pages of your favorite Harry Potter book, when a very angry teacher snatches it right from your hands! When you look up, she’s rambling about inappropriate themes and how the book will tarnish your young, developing mind into believing witchcraft exists.

Okay, maybe we’re exaggerating, but irritated school authorities are no joke! Instead of ripping books from the palm of your hand, teachers and several county board members are taking it a step further and banning harmless children’s stories. The reason? Well, there’s plenty, but a few are “too much violence” and “too much nudity.”

If the book has “inappropriate” themes, then they should definitely remove them, right? Nope! Censoring books may not feel like a huge issue now, but when it interferes with people’s choices it’s a problem. Not only should readers have the right to choose what stories they find suitable, but several literary works were banned for absolutely silly reasons.

Take the Captain Underpants series as a prime example. The name says it all; a superhero called Captain Underpants saves the world from destruction in nothing but his undies, giving villains monstrous wedgies. We can see where his missing shirt is an issue for several parents, but there’s no real reason for ruffled feathers and angry protesters! So, if you think that’s bad, it only gets worse! According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), in 2012 there were 464 reported attempts to remove and restrict materials from schools and libraries. What are we supposed to read if everything is getting removed?!

Well, many librarians, teachers, parents, and students are joining forces and bringing awareness to the issue! Bookstores and community organizations designed Banned Books Week so protesting and other activities can highlight the “freedom to read.” This year’s fair will include communal gatherings where large crowds read threatened classic novels together.

It’s good that people are getting involved to stop censorship, because how long will it be until all we have left to read is Dr. Seuss? Even then, I’m sure the outraged parents could find a problem with a talking cat…

Featured image courtesy of LearningLark on Flickr. Image courtesy of Banned Books Week Facebook. Video courtesy of Banned Books Week and American Library Association.