Celebrate the Freedom to Read

By Traci Cothran

Reading is central to everything we do here at Gale—and whatbbw you do at your library every day—so it’s a good bet the majority of us use Banned Books Week to rally around the works that cause a little controversy.  This year’s Banned Books Week focuses on celebrating Diversity, and runs September 25 – October 1.

I’m an avid reader of middle grade and young adult fiction, so it drives me a little batty when parents ban amazing novels that speak to youth. Some authors are even dis-invited from appearing at schools to talk about their books and the issues affecting kids today.  For instance, the graphic novel Drama, by Raina Telgemeier, has caused grumblings for two gay characters kissing, but I’ve yet to meet a middle school girl who doesn’t love this series.  Author Meg Medina faced scrutiny with her novel about high school bullying, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, because the title has a swear word in it—and you know such language is never spoken in school hallways!  Kate Messner was dis-invited from a school speaking engagement while on tour for her book, The Seventh Wish, because the main character’s sister struggles with a heroin addiction, affecting the whole family.  But there’s no reason to talk about the real-life heroin epidemic affecting kids in high schools and middle schools across the U.S., is there?

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Readers’ Advisory: Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 – Oct 3, 2014

Banned Books Week

By Holly Hibner and Mary Kelly

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. It began in 1982, when there was a sudden uptick in the number of books being challenged in schools and libraries. An astounding number of challenges happen each year (307 reported in 2013, according to the Office of Intellectual Freedom!), and Banned Books Week is a way to celebrate the value of open access to information (1). It is important to point out that of those 307 challenges, few of them were actually banned. The diligence of teachers, librarians, and informed citizens ensured the freedom to read in most situations.

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