This week, Sept. 18-24, is “Banned Books” Week ~ “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us”

September 21, 2022
Dot’s Reading Room

An article in The Conversation by a University of Southern California professor who teaches a class on banned books says book bans reflect outdated beliefs about how children read. Professor Trisha Tucker writes:

Banned Books Week, an annual event that teachers and librarians across the U.S. mark with a combination of distress and defiance, is here again. It comes amid regular high-profile efforts to remove allegedly controversial or inappropriate reading material from libraries and schools.

Nowadays, the small groups of parents who traditionally spearhead such efforts are joined by politicians authoring legislation that would outlaw or criminalize making controversial books available to children.”

The American Library Association tracks challenges to library, school, and university materials. In 2021 there were 729 challenges to a total of 1,597 books, a record number.  Tracking began 20 years ago. This year may surpass that record, with 681 challenges as of Aug. 31, 2022.

As for how children read, the author says adults presume that exposure to particular literary content will invariably produce particular effects.  She argues children’s reading experiences are complex and unpredictable. Put simply, children co-create their own reading experiences. Their interpretation of books is informed by their personal and cultural histories, and those interpretations may change over time or when readers encounter the same stories in different contexts.”

To read more on this timely issue:

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