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Banned Books Week Brings Light to Censorship in Our Schools

24 SEP 2014
Career Path : Education News


Banned books week

In wake of Banned Books Week, let’s delve into the world of the censored.

Schools and libraries are constantly being ordered to remove books from their shelves in the event of a government ban. The Huffington Post has just released the most recent banned books in America in light of Banned Books Week. This week is not to glorify banning books, but is instead a way to bring attention to the censorship of literature by our government.

Common reasons for censorship include violence, religious viewpoint, offensive language and the most common reason is that a book is considered “sexually explicit”. Some of the most commonly banned books include The Colour Purple by Alice Walker, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Texas, one of the most conservative states in America, has 114 book challenges this year alone. From many first-hand teacher accounts, this doesn’t seem to affect which books they put before their students. Many teachers who oppose the bans in fact use these lists as alternate reading material for children and as a way to teach them against censorship.

In Canada, the censorship of books is not as prominent as in other countries, however there are books which have been challenged by parents and organizations. The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood was up for trial after a parent complained about the “sexual degradation” and “anti-Christian overtones” in the novel. In 2007, the Halton Catholic district school board in Ontario voted to ban Phillip Pullman’s book The Golden Compass for its atheist themes. The anti-racist novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been tried over and over again in both America and Canada, many citing its racist profanity as a reason to ban the book.

We can congratulate out government for its strong upholding of literary freedom in this country. While we fight for the freedom to provide certain important texts for children, we should also be aware that other countries in the world have harsher censorship laws. In Singapore, Archie comics have been banned for touching on same-sex topics. China has heavy censorship laws, making Hong Kong a hot spot market for those who wish to get their hands on books otherwise not available in other parts of the country.

If you would like to check out the most banned books in the U.S., check out the list here, and the most challenged books in Canada here.

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