We're nearing the end of Banned Book Week. I know it's an event that happens every year, but I never remember when it falls. If I'm being honest, I usually let this week pass me by without thinking about it much. I know that sounds terrible, but I think it's because I've never felt like book banning has affected me personally. I've been thankful to live in towns with libraries that circulate what I want to read.
I spent a lot of time at the library as a child, and my mom was always active in my reading life. It was right around my Boxcar Children reading phase, when she started inducing me also to read classics in my free time. That is to say, that I've always felt encouraged to read and explore the world of literature. My mom monitored what I read to a degree, although she wasn't unnecessarily strict about it. But I see a big difference in your parent thinking a book isn't age appropriate versus a book being unavailable because it has been banned by your town.
You know the first time I even realized that people ban or even destroy books the don't like, was when I watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I was obsessed with Harrison Ford as a child...but I digress. In the movie, Indy goes into Nazi infested Berlin and witnesses a book burning before getting his father's journal signed by Hitler. I remember asking my dad why on earth people would burn books? I was horrified! Although that is an extreme example, towns and cities in America and in other places in the world are still making executive decisions about what books should and shouldn't be on their shelves.
This year I took a look at ALA's list of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990 - 1999, because that's the time period when I truly began to read and love books. As I went through the list, I thought about what would have happened if my favorite childhood books had been banned in my community?
Then I actually saw two of my favorite childhood books listed. To Kill A Mockingbird and A Wrinkle in Time don't have all that much in common, but they both captured my heart and imagination, and made a huge impact on my life as a reader. In fact, To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite book. Ever. The idea that it might not have been part of my childhood is fairly horrifying. (Did you know that James and the Giant Peach, A Light in the Attic and Where's Waldo? are also on that list?)
I don't really have anything hugely profound to say about this topic, except that I hope you take a moment this week to do as the banner at the top says, and "celebrate the freedom to read," and be thankful for the books in your life.
On an unrelated note, sorry I've been low on reviews this week. I've been reading but my review schedule got knocked out a bit. I'll be back again next week. Happy weekend!