“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”
Henry Lewis Gates, Jr. "2 Live Crew, Decoded," 1990
It's Banned Books Week once again, just when First Amendment issues are in the news more than ever. Recent news stories are focusing on the many people who are courageously speaking out to oppose racism. Here at Something Good to Read, we support those speakers and join them in opposing racism and the violence and injustice that are driven by racism. In the area of censorship and challenges to books, more than half of all banned books are by authors of color, according to the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom. (Robert P. Doyle, 2015 - 2016 Books Challenged or Banned).
If you are looking to read a book that has been the subject of a challenge, here is a list of the top 10 books challenged in 2016. Or you can check out this document from the American Library Association listing frequently challenged books; there are many excellent reads listed within it.
For Banned Books week, I'm going to read The Disappearing Spoon: And Other Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements by Sam Kean, which was challenged at a Florida middle school. This book was nominated by the Royal Society in the United Kingdom as one of the top science books of 2010 and named an Amazon “Top 5” science book of the year, making it the perfect two-for-one read because, in addition to censorship battles, science is also under attack.
Let's continue to speak out against censorship in literature, and also in movies, plays, exhibits and other areas of expression. Support diverse voices, support our libraries, and keep reading!