Banned Books Week starts tomorrow (the 24th). Vroman’s celebrates Banned Books week every year – it’s a great time to think about censorship, honor freedom of speech, and laugh at what strange books have been banned and why. Seriously, some of these are just nuts. Check out our list of five cool things related to Banned Books Week:
1. This map of banned and censored books across the US. The data comes from the American Library Association and the Kids’ Right to Read Project, a collaboration of the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression. Props to Utah, Nevada and Arkansas for being the states with the fewest censored or challenged books on the map (although they could have just failed to report – The ALA estimates that 70-80% of challenges are never reported).
2. Pasadena’s new Free Speech-themed traffic boxes! This art installation went up a few weeks ago, but it seems very appropriate to Banned Books Week. Artist Susan Silton wrapped 5 traffic boxes along Colorado Blvd. with pictures and quotes from some of our nation’s free speech leaders throughout history. You can read more about it here and here; let me know in the comments if you spot any of them!
3. This year’s Vroman’s banned book display. It is seriously cool. Actually, hot might be more appropriate! Here’s a picture, but to get the full effect, stop by the store.
4. The Virtual Read-Out hosted by the people behind Banned Books Week. Take a video of yourself reading from your favorite banned or challenged book and upload it to their YouTube channel to support your right to choose what you read. Here is one (of many) lists of banned books; a quick google search will turn up plenty more.
5. Most books are banned for some sort of questionable content, but Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl is banned for bad grammar. Yup. Maybe banning books isn’t all bad?
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.