Banned Books Week runs from September 24- October 1 and celebrates the freedom to read. Technically this is an American event (Canada has Freedom to Read Week, next one is February 26- March 3, 2012) but feel free to join in no matter where you live.
Banning books is an interesting concept to me. I don’t agree with banning books, and I certainly don’t agree with burning books (just don’t read it if you don’t like it), however some of the challenged books make a certain kind of sense to me. For example, The Color Purple by Alice Walker was challenged in Saginaw, MI by the public libraries because it was “too sexually graphic for a 12 year old” (a character in the book is raped by her step-father). The movie version of the Color Purple is rated PG-13, anyone under the age of 13 would need an adult with them if they saw this movie at the theatre. I would agree with that challenge because I think there are many, many other books that are considered literature but would also be more appropriate for a 12 year old. That being said, every child is different, and some are more equipped to deal with reading about adult subjects at a younger age than others.
Again, I don’t advocate burning or banning books. I agree with having children read age appropriate books- can’t we let them enjoy their childhoods before they are introduced to the worst parts of the world? I’m not sure what the solution is but I don’t believe that it is banning books outright. Maybe if more parents were involved in their children’s literary choices-knowing what their children were reading and being available to discuss the books with them we would have fewer banned books.