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September 7, 2014
 

Banned Books Week to focus on graphic novels

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Banned Books Week, September 21-27, is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Business and Heritage Clarksville will again celebrate “banned books” by picking one, two or even a half dozen to read and review during this year’s Banned Books Week.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Celebrate the Graphic Novel

banned books 2The national Banned Books Week planning committee has also announced a new focus in the annual celebration of the freedom to read that will emphasize a thematic focus on comics and graphic novels. This year’s Banned Books Week will shine a light on this still misunderstood form of storytelling and celebrate the value of graphic novels to readers from all walks of life through the work performed by Banned Books Week sponsors and individual librarians, retailers and readers from all over the world.

“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.

Recently, the acclaimed memoir Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, has been the flashpoint in a university funding controversy in South Carolina, while last year Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, faced an attempted ban in the Chicago Public Schools. Graphic novels continually show up on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Top 10 list of Frequently Challenged Books. The ALA released its current list in April and includes Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants at the top spot and Jeff Smith’s series Bone arriving at #10.

 

banned books 1Banned Books Week celebrates the Freedom to Read by encouraging readouts, displays, and community activities designed to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship that continue to occur.

CBLDF.org offers a broad range of resources about banned and challenged comics, as well as tools that libraries, retailers and individuals can use to develop their own Banned Books Week celebrations. For an introduction to banned books and Banned Books Week, visit CBLDF’s FAQ: Banned Books Week 101.

Bannedbooksweek.org is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can become involved in celebrating this important event. The website also includes resources and activities provided by event sponsors.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.

banned books 3For more information on getting involved with Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read, please see Ideas and Resources, Calendar of Events,and the new Banned Books Week site. You can also contact the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4220, or bbw@ala.org.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association;American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American Publishers; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read Foundation; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; PEN American Center and and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Read a book; open your mind to a world of ideas.



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