First Amendment Rights / Writes! Banned Book Week.

“What if you had no right to read” should be foremost in Americans minds in the fight for our First Amendment rights.

BBW13_300x250This week is Banned Book Week The ALA, American Library Association, and this topic brought to my attention by The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say “Shhh”.   Disappointment and incredulity prevails when witnessing how U.S. First Amendment rights are continually trampled and disdained.

An entire list of Classic books that are banned can be found at the ALA website. (Accessed September 22, 2013)

I read Harper Lee, John Steinbeck, George Orwell and William Golding as a child. Aside from the beauty of the literature, I broadened my horizons and knowledge. That these and other books have been banned or are banned at a minimum makes me sad.

 I saw the movie and then read the book Farenheit 451 as a child too. The impact of Ray Bradbury’s work was not lost on me. The descriptor “What if you had no right to read” should be foremost in Americans minds in the fight for our First Amendment rights. In 7th grade our civics teacher took us on a field trip to see The Lord of the Flies and Soylent Green, apparently I was a fortunate student.

Take a look at these classics that have been banned. Look further for books banned in the past year, I have only cited from the ALA 3 – more than enough to make my point.

Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell

Disappointment and incredulity prevails when witnessing how U.S. First Amendment rights are continually trampled and disdained.

Some of the books banned in 2012 – 2013:
Totally Joe Atheneum Books for Young Readers by James Howe.

Marked for removal in the Davis, Utah School District (2012) because parents might find it objectionable. The title character, a thirteen-year-old boy, writes an alphabiography—his life from A to Z—and explores issues of friendship, family, school, and the challenges of being a gay teenager. Source: July 2012, p. 156.

The Family Book from Little, Brown by Todd Parr.

Banned from an Erie, Ill. Elementary school’s shelves (2012) because of a line
that reads, “some families have two moms or two dads.” The district also banned
 everything furnished by GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network), including learning materials and various programs aimed at preventing bullying. Source: July 2012, p. 157; Sept. 2012, pp. 202–3.

500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures from Southwest Community Resources by Elizabeth Martinez.

Banned from the Tucson, Ariz. Unified School District (2012) along with Critical Race Theory, by Richard Delgado; Message to Aztlan, by Rodolfo Corky Gonzales;  Chicano! The History of the Mexican Civil Rights Movement, by Arturo Rosales; Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire; Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, edited by Bill Bigelow and Bob Peterson; and Occupied America: A History of  Chicanos, by Rodolfo Acuña. In a district with over 60 percent of the students coming from Mexican-American backgrounds, the school board “dismantled its Mexican-American Studies program, packed away its offending books, shuttled its students into other classes,” according to a January 21, 2102, New York Times editorial because “it was blackmailed into doing so.” The Times referred to measures taken by Arizona  Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal, who threatened to withhold millions of dollars if the school district didn’t terminate the nationally acclaimed program immediately. The superintendent has spent years crusading against ethnic studies programs that he claims are “brainwashing” children into thinking that Latinos have been victims of white oppression. On March 8, 2013, a federal court upheld most provisions of an Arizona state law used to prohibit the controversial Mexican-American Studies curriculum in Tucson. Activists plan to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Source: Mar. 2012, pp. 49, 51, 82–

The Dirty Cowboy Farrar Straus Giroux by AmyTimberlake.
Removed from the Annville, Pa. elementary school library shelves (2012) because of its illustrations, involving a cartoon cowboy taking his annual bath. The supposedly true story is of a young cowboy who needs his annual bath and instructs his dog to watch  his clothes while he bathes. When the cowboy emerges from his bath in the river,  the dog does not recognize his familiar smell and refuses to give back his clothes.
In the illustrations, the cowboy’s private parts are always covered. The book has received numerous awards, including the International Reading Association award in
2004, the Parents Choice Gold Medal, and the Bulletin Blue Ribbon from The Bulletin
for the Center for Children’s Books. Source: July 2012, pp. 153–54.

Again Cited from ALA (Accessed September 22, 2013). For the complete list go here.

Freedom of Speech is a Right Due All.

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Filed under Books, Reviews

3 responses to “First Amendment Rights / Writes! Banned Book Week.

  1. There are books that have been written to which I have no plan of ever reading and will not recommend to others, but to ban them just seems wrong…I know it’s wrong.

  2. Pingback: Blogdom Sept. 25-Oct. 23 ’13 | Welcome to the ToiBox

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