By reading banned books!
I know what you’re thinking: What’s so rebellious about reading? Well, given how book banning is still alive and well today…. Pass me a leather jacket.
And what’s truly surprising is how many people don’t realize how prevalent banning still is. You don’t have to live in a 1984-esque state or a long ago, ultra-conservative society for censorship to be alive and well.
Last week was Banned Books Week, and our library was fortunate enough to receive a grant to celebrate it. (Shout-out to the Freedom to Read Foundation—THANK YOU!)
We had activities every day culminating in a Banned Books Discussion and Dinner and a drawing for five book-themed gift baskets. We also had displays and decorations—basically, we turned our library into Banned Books Central.
In the past, I’ve been lucky to get one person to attend a Banned Books event. But this year… I had people coming to each daily activity and a grand total of 9 patrons at the dinner. (I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but I live in a small, rural community, and there was also a cruise-in going on that day and the homecoming football game. Nine people is HUGE!)
And what’s even better is that everyone who came—including kids and teens—had honest, real conversations about censorship. Whether it was during the dinner or just a patron passing by, glancing at a display, we were constantly discussing book banning: Why are books banned? Should they be banned? Do we have any favorite books which also happen to be banned? How does all of that make us feel?
As both a writer and as a librarian, it was pretty magical. Banned Books Week is all about celebrating our right to read, and last week… we certainly did exactly that.
Another big thank you to the Freedom to Read Foundation and to my library for letting me embrace my inner rebel all last week!
Do you have a favorite banned book? Tell me about it in the comments! (Mine is a toss-up among Harry Potter, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Looking for Alaska.)