Today is the official start date of Banned Books Week 2013!
Readers from across the United States and around the world will demonstrate their support for free speech by participating in a Virtual Read-Out of banned and challenged books during Banned Books Week, Sept. 22 – 28, a time when the nation celebrates the freedom to read and the American Library Association (ALA) brings attention to the censorship of books in schools and libraries.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom released the top ten most frequently challenged books list of 2012 as part of the State of America's Library Report on Monday, April 15. Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series ranked #1, having been challenged for "offensive language" and "unsuited to age group." Captain Underpants also appeared on the Top Ten lists in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
Chicago Public Schools may think their letter regarding the attempted ban of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis provides an adequate defense for their actions, but today’s letter from the Kids Right to Read Project unquestionably eviscerates CPS’s argument. CBLDF is a sponsor of KRRP and a signatory in this latest volley protesting the removal of the book.
Chip Kidd -- designer extraordinaire, writer, comics devotee, and CBLDF supporter -- has added his voice to the cacophony decrying the attempt to ban Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis in Chicago schools. Recently, Kidd compiled a series of #FreePersepolis memes, calling on people to share them on social media:
Applications are now open for FTRF's 2013 Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund Banned Books Week event grants. Grants in the amounts of $2,500 and $1,000 will be given to organizations in support of "Read-Outs” or other activities that celebrate Banned Books Week (Sept. 22 – 30, 2013).
Applications will be accepted through April 30, 2013, and the announcements will be made in June.
The attempt to ban Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis from Chicago schools awoke immediate protest among students, teachers, parents, and free speech advocates such as CBLDF. The circumstances behind the ban are still unclear, but a recent opinion article in The Atlantic gives a teacher’s perspective to the situation and takes Chicago Public Schools to task for a bureaucracy that interferes with learning.
Last night, WTTW's Chicago Tonight aired a 15-minute segment trying to get to the real story about the reported Persepolis ban. Barbara Jones, Executive Director of ALA's Office of Intellectual Freedom, joined anchor Carol Marin, Kristine Mayle with the Chicago Teachers Union, and Lane Tech students Katie McDermott and Alexa Repp for a roundtable discussion about the circumstances surrounding the Persepolis ban. Tellingly, Chicago Public School declined to send a representative to the discussion.
Friday saw the quick action of Banned Books Week sponsor CBLDF and other free speech advocates in defense of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, which was reportedly removed from the classrooms and library of Lane Tech College Prep in the Chicago public school district at the order of Chicago Public Schools, which oversees the district.
Booksellers celebrated Banned Books Week in style in 2012. They came up with provocative displays, creative videos and community events tailored to censorship issues of 2012. Celebrity supporters such as Bill Moyers, John Waters and Lawrence Ferlinghetti lent their voice to the cause with impassioned readings of banned books and videos like Moyers’ that spoke of censorship being the enemy of the truth. ABFFE’s president Chris Finan participated in local festivities in Durango, Colorado at Maria’s Bookshop and at the Durango Literary Festival where the theme was censo