Editors Note: We posted the below last year, but since it was only our third week in existence, no one entered! We hope you’ll indulge us this year as we share our thoughts about Banned Books again.
In honor of Banned Books Week (Sept. 30-Oct. 6), we at Teen Lit Rocks want to celebrate the freedom we share to choose what books we want to read. As it states on the American Library Association’s website, “Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.”
We agree with this premise and have seen, time and time again, how reading so-called “dangerous” books is just another way for certain groups to try to thwart discourse and debate. We think the written word is transformative, and that no book should be banned — no matter how controversial the material. Should we be selective in what we or our children read — absolutely — but banning books because the ideas espoused in them don’t mesh with our own values is wrong and contrary to the spirt of our nation.
So, without any more preamble, we’d like to announce our second giveaway for the week: Pick a Banned Book to Read! Two winners: one will receive any Banned Book of their choosing and the other will receive this mug, which both Sandie and I both bought at Books to Be Red in the Outer Banks. But first, I’d like to share about two Banned Books that have meant so much me.
The first book is “The Diary of Anne Frank.” Yes, believe it; “The Diary of Anne Frank” is on the Banned Books list. My chin dropped to the floor when I discovered this. There is no other book that has been more powerful in portraying the effect of the Holocaust on a young teenage girl. How many of us were inspired to keep diaries because of her? How many of us felt the injustice, the pain, and the horror of the Holocaust because of her words? Even if you’ve already read, take this opportunity to reread it and remember once again, the power of words. Even those of a young teenage girl who never knew that the whole world would one day read them.
The second book is “The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I was never a fantasy reader, but when I was in college my older brother was very excited about these books and couldn’t stop talking about them. Since he was NOT an avid reader, I figured I should give them a chance. I was immediately hooked. Even if you don’t like fantasy, give these books a chance. You will enter Middle Earth and never want to leave. You will laugh and cry with Elves, Hobbits, Wizards, dwarves and men. These books impacted me in a way I never imagined. I probably wouldn’t have read the “Harry Potter” books if not for The Lord of the Rings. My entire family got swept up with Middle Earth and we loved the movies. We are now anticipating “The Hobbit” movie. So first read these books and you’ll find out why I am perplexed that anyone would want to ban them. Actually I am perplexed at why anyone would want to ban any book.
Celebrate intellectual freedom and sign up for our giveaway: