Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It’s Banned Books Week again. Can we stop yelling at each other about it?

Author Jacqueline Woodson (Marty Umans)

Early in her career as a writer, Jacqueline Woodson got some disturbing news from none other than Judy Blume.
Blume was editing an anthology of works by banned authors and wanted to include her.
“But I haven’t been banned,” Woodson said.
“Oh, yes you have!” Blume told her.
Woodson, the author of such books as “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “Hush,” has since won a National Book Award and been named Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. Yet she still finds her work under fire in libraries and schools around the country for its depiction of sexuality, drug use, prison and interracial relationships.
According to the American Library Association, books for young adults — the kind Woodson writes — are now “the majority of the most frequently challenged books.”
During Banned Books Week (Sept. 27 to Oct. 3), you’ll see the usual celebrations of censored classics, such as “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “The Catcher in the Rye,” alongside more recent works, such as “The Kite Runner” and the “Harry Potter” series. Many bookstores, like One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., have set up special displays to promote titles that have weathered persistent objections.
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