Friday, October 2, 2015

Banned Books Week: Yes, it's still happening

Ruth Graham wrote a column in Slate magazine titled "Banned Books Week is a Crock", with the subtitle, "That’s good news! No one bans books anymore. We won!"

Unfortunately, this kind of ignorant statement can be expected from a columnist who intimated in 2014 that adults should feel embarrassed if they read books written for young adults or children. I can only come to the conclusion that Slate keeps her on their list of writers to troll readers. After all, controversy many times increases readership.

And therein lies the sweet irony. When a book is challenged, even if it is not ultimately pulled from the shelves, a firestorm of activity ensues, with the publisher and author usually coming out victorious.

Author Ted Dawe with a copy of his banned book Into the River.
Case in point: New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification (where the head is called the Chief Censor) placed an "interim restriction" on Ted Dawe's YA book "Into the River".

Interim Restriction = BANNED. You can get details on it here and here,

Dawe himself supports the "Streisand effect" in this statement: The censorship of my award-winning young adult novel, Into The River, made me a minor literary celebrity. All I wanted was to get working-class boys to read.

You see, while books may only be challenged in the United States, they are, indeed, still banned around the world, and in places that may be surprising (like New Zealand). Banned Books Week is not about bringing life to a dead topic. It is about maintaining a spotlight on what Americans hold dear, and people everywhere should be able to enjoy: FREEDOM.

I am going now to get my copy of Dawe's book!

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