The American Library Association designates a week each September to raise awareness of books that have been challenged or banned, to promote the freedom to read and to speak out against censorship in our libraries. Librarians are on the front line of this fight and I applaud the many times they’ve come forth to defend great works of literature, such as To Kill a Mockingbird (which made the Top Ten Challenged Books List as recently as 2011), Of Mice and Men and the entire Harry Potter series. So I am devoting an entire month to looking at picture books that have been banned or challenged.
Many people are surprised to think there would be any picture books on that list, but I had a roster of over 50 to pick from for this month and I’ll bet some of them will surprise you. We’ll be hearing from classic authors, like Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak, and tackling some interesting subjects, covering everything from the atomic bomb to peeing. I don’t suppose it surprises anyone that I am staunchly against the banning of books, as I believe that even the most ‘shocking’ books can be springboards to great conversations between children and parents, raising opportunities to learn and grow. At some point, you have to trust to the judgment of the individual or you eliminate all the benefits of the freedom on which our country was founded.
I’ve got 30 books to cover, starting tomorrow and running through the end of September. They’re not all classics. They’re not all good. They’re not even all truly controversial. But I’m pleased to say that all of them were available in my local library. If they’re in your library, too, thank your librarians. And if you want to financially support their efforts, text ALABBW to 41518 or check out their web page here.