I’m with the banned

You’ve gotta fight! For your right! To…read? Every year, the ALA celebrates Banned Books Week, which raises awareness of censorship and freedom of expression. The most-challenged book of 2012, it turns out, was Captain Underpants. It joins perennial favorites like the Harry Potter series and To Kill a Mockingbird. A lot of the books on the list are for a YA audience, and have been challenged for offensive language or sexually explicit content. What does challenged mean? Somewhere, someone has submitted a request to remove the book from school or library shelves. It’s not unreasonable to want to shield teens from things like sex and curse words and war…but these things exist in the real world, and they can be safely explored in the fictional one (and discussed with adults). Luckily there are things we can do to combat these challenges, starting with…reading banned books! That way, the next time someone challenges the book in your community, you can have a reasoned discussion about its merits. Join book clubs and talk about these books with other people. Ask your local librarians what their policy is for challenged books. Volunteer at a local school and learn about the audience for YA lit. But read, read!



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