Banned Books Week: Why Do We Ban Books?

I was going to do a piece on the representation of women in modern media, focusing on fictional texts, today however, after going on the Guardian newspaper website, I decided to do something about the concept of Banned Books instead. Not least because I have a feeling I will need to do a lot of research for the representation article.

I had never heard of Banned Books Week until last year but it was only this year have I actually looked into what the week was about. Though it is fairly obvious, Banned Books Week is the annual right to read celebration from the American Libraries Association. It celebrates the books that have been banned for various reasons.

For me, it has amused me finding out which books are banned and why. Some books which have been challenged, like the Captain Underpants books, are just laughable. Apparently the books are inappropriate for children of a certain age and due to the language. Other books, like E.L. James‘s 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, I can understand a bit more. I don’t think I need to go through the reasons why, though sadly none of the reasons are about the dismal writing.

Sex is a frequent reason as to why books are banned but I’m curious about why someone would want to ban a book in the first place. I agree with a quote by Isaac Asimov, an author, who said, “Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” Now, I know there will be certain subjects and themes, like pedophilia and bestiality, that would raise objections and I understand them, but my question, why do we ban books?, comes from the fact that even in our modern age, books like And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, have been challenged due to its homosexual themes.

Now, if this had been a book released in the past, when homosexuality was viewed as anything but normal and even when it was a criminal offence, then yes, I could perhaps understand. But no, this book was released in a modern world, in countries which accept homosexuality. The book was inspired by 2 male penguins hatched and raised a chick in a New York Zoo.

Personally, I don’t understand why people would want to ban books, especially ones like the aforementioned book, especially when they are children’s books. Surely And Tango Makes Three would be a good way to introduce concepts like homosexuality to children. It is part of society and part life.

If we want to help people in general to become better people, to expand their horizons and create an even better society than what we have now, reading is a fantastic way to do it and books are brilliant ways of introducing these sorts of concepts and ideas.

Freedom to read

Don’t forget that it is Banned Books week, this week!


Wakefield Libraries

BelovedCaptain UnderpantsFifty shadesKite runner
What do these books have in common?

This week, libraries and bookshops in America are celebating Banned Books week, which highlights attempts to get various titles removed from bookshops, schools or libraries because of their content. It also celebrates all the times that this has failed.

The books pictured above are from their list of books most complained about in 2012. Many books have been banned by various countries: Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was banned in Ireland in 1932 for its sexual content, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales were banned in America in 1873 for obscenity. China banned Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham for it’s apparent depiction of early communism and United Arab Emirates banned Orwell’s Animal Farm for containing references to pigs.

There is a list of books that have been banned at various times here

Whatever you have chosen to read this week, sombody would probably like to…

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