September 27-October 4, 2008 marks the 27th annual Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association, which organizes the week, “BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”
Since 1990, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 7,800 book challenges or attempted bans. The most challenged and/or restricted reading materials have been books for children. Since its beginning in 1982, Banned Books Week has served as a reminder that while not every book is intended for every reader, everyone has the right to decide for him or herself what to read, listen to, or view.
So celebrate Banned Books Week by picking up a banned book, whether it’s a classic like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or one from the ALA’s list of the top 10 banned books of 2007. Celebrate your freedom to read!