I came across the development that London's Sunday Times broke the news on July 14th that Robert Galbraith, author of The Cuckoo's Calling, is in fact the pen name for...J.K. Rowling. This was news to me, so I wanted to pass it along. The book has been getting critical acclaim before it was leaked that Rowling was the real author. "Rowling switches genres seamlessly...a gritty, absorbing tale." (People (3.5/4 stars)). Now onto our main feature story.
Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011. ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.
In many cases, learning about why a book has been challenged or banned is an education in itself. In celebrating Banned Book Week, we are celebrating freedom in the United States to read broadly. Naturally, parents may feel some material is not age appropriate for their child, and that is each family's individual call. But over this week we celebrate our freedom to read, rather than live in a country were censorship is the order of the day.
Find out about the ten banned books that shaped America (click here.) Here is a brief discussion regarding the censorship in Tucson Unified School District for the widely praised Mexican-American Studies program (click here.) Also, find out about frequently challenged books (click here.)
Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs—a continuous reading of banned/challenged books—as part of their activities. For the third year in a row, readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel -- click here. More information and criteria to participate can be found here.
Check your local library to find events all this week.
A Sara Paretsky, author of V I Warshawski detective novels participating in Virtual Read-out for Banned Book Week.