Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013: Discover What You're Missing!

September 22-28, 2013 marks the 31st anniversary of Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association. As I stated last year, the idea of banning books seems paradoxical in a country that theoretically reveres freedom of speech. There are a number of exciting events which you can participate in--just check out the website!  

Click HERE for the link to the Banned Books Week website.

The 10 most challenged titles of the past year were:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey - Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie - Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher - Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James - Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson - Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini - Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green - Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz - Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls - Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison - Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
   Click HERE for the Banned Books YouTube Channel, where you can watch authors and others read from banned books.

As usual, I am teaching several banned books in my classes, including Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ralph W. Ellison’s Invisible Man, Allen Ginsberg's Howl, Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, and several others. 

All best,



Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Four Little Girls" Film This Thursday, Sept. 12 at Plainfield Library

This September marks the 50th Anniversary of the horrific bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama by white supremacists, in which four girls (Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, Addie Mae Collins, and Denise McNair) were killed, along with several others injured. Spike Lee’s Academy Award-nominated film, Four Little Girls, will be shown on September 12th in the Anne Louise Davis Room. The film starts at 6:30 PM and I will lead a discussion afterward. I hope you will join us for this extremely important film viewing. Young people are especially encouraged to attend.