National Banned Books Week started on Sunday, Sept. 22 and runs through Saturday, Sept. 28. It’s “the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read,” according to bannedbooksweek.org. The event was launched in 1982 “in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.” In the 31 years since, more than 11,300 books have been challenged.
Asheville based nonprofit The POP Project works to spread literacy in our area. The group collects secondhand books and redistributes them throughout Western North Carolina communities and across the Southeast. “The demand is great, and all contributions are welcome,” says the organization’s web site.
As part of Banned Books Week, the POP Project “will be displaying a poster asking why you enjoy reading banned books. Our interactive display focuses on the power and purpose of books, and what the freedom of reading means to individuals in our community. The display will allow people to share their own stories about their favorite “banned” books – whether currently banned in our community, or banned at some point in others.” Find the display at The Mothlight (701 Haywood Road) in West Asheville.
“The POP Project encourages you to leave a message, write a few sentences, draw a picture that celebrates banned books, or just leave your own creative marks. POP representatives will be on hand at points throughout the day. The poster will be photographed and posted onto POP’s website: thepopproject.org.”
The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:
• “Captain Underpants” (series), by Dav Pilkey (Offensive language, unsuited for age group)
• “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie (Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
• ”Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher (Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group)
• ”Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James. (Offensive language, sexually explicit)
• ”And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. (Homosexuality, unsuited for age group)
• “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini. (Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
• ”Looking for Alaska,” by John Green. (Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group)
• ”Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz (Unsuited for age group, violence)
• ”The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls (Offensive language, sexually explicit)
• ”Beloved,” by Toni Morrison (Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence)