Banned Book Week is Sept. 23 through Sept. 28, and what a perfect time to celebrate books about free speech and the harms of censorship. The young-adult books here may not be on any “banned book” lists, but they ask important questions about where the line is between protecting and censoring people.
Sci-fi: All librarians believe they’re champions of information and literacy, but in Library Wars, librarians across Japan take that belief to a new level and become warriors against the government’s attack on books. Libraries work together to form a military of their own to protect their collections from the newly formed “Media Betterment Committee.” Follow Iku Kasahara as she joins the “Library Defense Force” and becomes a soldier in the ultimate battle of the books.
Graphic novel: A single book or series can sometimes spark a heated debate. For Neil Barton, the “Chronicles of Apathea Ravenchilde” series is a haven from his small-town life. For others in his town, the series encourages children to engage in witchcraft. Soon, everyone in the town of Americus has taken a side in the argument. What starts off as an argument about one series, becomes a discussion of bigger questions and, for Neil, a chance to connect with real people and not just his favorite characters.
Thriller: Freedom of information is supposed to protect the people, but what if it doesn’t? When Marcus and his friends end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, the group discovers the government will go to any length to protect its citizens from terrorism, but is the cost too high? In Little Brother, Marcus will have to put his computer hacking skills to use if he’s going to fight the Department of Homeland Security.
Realistic fiction: The first amendment protects the freedom of the press, but does that apply to a high school newspaper? In The Year They Burned The Books, Jamie Crawford has no idea the debate she’s about to spark when she writes a controversial opinion piece in the Wilson High Telegraph. Soon, she finds herself and the paper under fire from the school board. With the newspaper tangled up in controversy, can Jamie and her fellow students find another way to make themselves heard?
Nonfiction: Censorship and freedom of speech issues are often complex. It’s important to think critically about all sides of each argument and Banned Books is just the title to help anyone explore the issues around censoring books. Full of insightful arguments, Banned Books also suggests further reading from credible online sources.
Want to explore some of the issues in these books in the real world? Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has a program for that! Here are some of the things coming up soon:
Prolific Pens Writing Group, Sept. 8 from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Mint Hill branch, is for anyone who wants to flex his or her writing muscles. Make sure to register in advance!
A Library Skills Workshop: Explore Credo Reference, Sept. 12 at the Sugar Creek branch, details how to better use this resource guide for finding credible sources.
Of course, the easiest way to fight back against censorship is by borrowing books from your local Library branch and telling others about it. September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so bring along a friend who doesn’t yet have a Library card and share in the joy of the First Amendment.