Every year, librarians and educators across the country celebrate Banned Books Week. The last week of September gives us all an opportunity to think about books and reading in light of the First Amendment. Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) looks at the books that were most challenged by the public and compiles a top ten list. In recent years, titles have included “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Kite Runner,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and “Twilight.” Most of these books have been challenged for one reason or another, either in public or school libraries, but not banned. Thinking about this topic reminded me of the scene in “To Kill a Mockingbird” where Scout and her father, Atticus, are talking about how her teacher has forbidden her from reading with her father at home. Scout explains that she can’t even remember when words started making sense to her, but she says, “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” For me, and I think for a lot of people, reading is about as essential as air or food. So this week, I encourage you to celebrate your freedom to read. Consider what reading has meant to you in your life. Has it comforted you? Allowed you to walk around in someone else’s shoes for a while? Given you knowledge and confidence? So why do you enjoy reading? I would love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to comment on this post!
For more information about Banned Books Week, check out ALA’s website.