Harry Potter. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Hate U Give. The list goes on and on.
Believe it or not, these are all banned books!
This year Banned Books Week runs September 27-October 3. The week in honor of censored books began in 1982 during a wave of banning books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom of reading of all kinds, no matter how unpopular or taboo the subject matter.
The most common challenges of banned books include “sexually explicit” material, “offensive language,” “unsuited to age group,” “violence,” “homosexuality,” and “racial insensitivity.” This raises the question: Are there any books that have not been banned over the years?! Organizations that challenge or ban books prevent important conversations from taking place. Books open up sensitive subject matter we may not have accepted as a society. They continue the conversations that we need to have in order for our society to become a more inclusive, safe, educated, and equal one. Banned books can inspire conversation, and we need them more than ever.
In previous years, the English Department and Sigma Tau Delta have partnered with Hale Libraries and Kansas State University’s radio station KSDB to publicize this annual event. We’ve held read-alouds in the Free Speech area of the Student Union. We’ve had panel discussions about particular censorship controversies. We’ve discussed commonly challenged or banned books on the air.
However, as it has so many other things, Covid-19 has put a crimp in our plans. This year, we invite you to test your knowledge about some of the most frequently banned books. Visit the Banned Books Week quiz at tinyurl.com/y2rbsk79 — created by Alissa Rehmert (BA ’21), President for Sigma Tau Delta — and enter the code 05677996.
If you are interested in seeing the Top Ten Banned Books throughout the years, according to American Library Association, visit their web site at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10.
— Cassandra Griffing (BA ’20), Secretary, Sigma Tau Delta