Along with the opening week of the Football season and the beginning of the new school term, each year September also brings us Banned Book Week. It is an annual reminder of our freedom to read.
Banned Book Week is officially scheduled Sept. 21 – 27 but there are a variety of events that will occur throughout the month. BBW is sponsored by local libraries, independent retailers along with a supportive legion of readers all over the world From the Banned Books Website: “BBW was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported.”
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) publishes a Top Ten list of Frequently Challenged Books. This year’s list (published in April) includes the # 1 Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series for offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence. The list is rounded off with Jeff Smith’s Bone series at #10 for political viewpoint, racism, and violence
“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.
At this past summer’s HeroesCon, Prof. Craig Fischer created a panel that focused on the history of the Comic Book Defense League Fund as well as a roundtable about the local issues an NC school had with Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. This will be posted at the Dollar Bin site later this month. www.thedollarbin.net
Locally, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Libraries are offering dozens of Banned Book Week events—everything from Art contests to Reading groups. To see all of the events in your area go to: www.cmlibrary.org/programs/
This year, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is doing their part to support this noble and important movement. Warehouse Manager Seth Peagler and Heroes Discussion Group leader Andy Mansell will be appearing at a number of branches this month to discuss Banned Books:
Seth will join UNCC Professors Robert Campbell (Graphic Design) and Dr. Erik Waterkotte (Print Media) to discuss the importance of comics and graphic novels and how they are susceptible to censorship. Audience: Adults, Teens (12-18) 9/18/2014 at 6:00 PM: Morrison Regional near South Park.
Andy will lead discussions at the following branches on why comics are particularly vulnerable to challenges and focus on some of the more frequently challenged titles.
9/18/2014 at 6:00 PM: Scaleybark Audience: Teens (12-18), Adults, Seniors
9/24/2014 at 2:30 PM: Independence Regional Audience: Teens (12-18)
9/25/2014 at 5:00 PM: Mountain Island Audience: Teens (12-18), Adults, Seniors
We hope to see you there and remember, reading is one of our greatest gifts. Never take it for granted!