Banned Books Week — September 25 through October 2
I’d started thinking that book challenges only happen in schools and the children’s sections of public libraries. It’s true that most of the challenges in 2009 involved books that the challengers found inappropriate for children in most of the standard ways – profanity, sexual content, homosexuality, drug use, nudity and religious issues – but there are some interesting and very different cases in the list, too.
In Grants Pass, Oregon Help the Forest was challenged at the public library for its unsympathetic portrayal of loggers. Similarly, the Christian Civil Liberties Union in West Bend, Wisconsin challenged Baby Be-Bop for its portrayal of men.
Universities are usually pretty challenge-free zones, but this year Notre Dame vs the Klan was banned at the University of Indiana – Purdue University at Indianapolis after students were harassed for just reading the book in public. After six months, they retracted the ban and made a statement affirming the University’s support for freedom of speech.
The Yale University Press pulled all of the images from Jytte Klausen’s Cartoons That Shook the World, including twelve cartoons that portray the Prophet Muhammed unfavorably. Yale Press Bans Images.. a New York Times article from August 2009 explores that decision.
Take a look at the map of banned books and challenge your own assumptions.