You may not be aware that I come from a long legacy of excellent librarians, many of whom have been champions of freedom of information. My uncle was the library supervisor in Greene County, Ohio, and his wife was a school library supervisor (they are both retired now).
During the 8th grade’s debate around book banning in schools (they overwhelmingly felt that they should be allowed to read books of their choice), we looked at two sides of the debate around one of my own favorite books, Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I love the book because it’s funny, wise, sad, and engaging, and because it gave me a glimpse of life in an unfamiliar and underrepresented culture. It also has some content that parents around the country have at various times felt was too offensive for students, making the book inappropriate for inclusion in curriculum.
So when my uncle asked me which book I would recommend he read for the Greene County library’s Banned Books Week read-out, it was the first thing that came to mind. I also figured it would appeal to his sense of humor. Here’s a video of my uncle reading excerpts from the book. He’s in a convict’s uniform in a fake jail cell in the library, to symbolize the restrictions that people have tried to place on the literature he is sharing.
Banned Books Week may end this weekend, but we can ALWAYS celebrate our freedom to read! The library has a number of frequently challenged or banned books on display (they are all approved by AACPS’ library selection policy!). So come on by – many of the titles that are on the table will probably surprise you!