Banning Books

          September 25th starts “Banned Book Week” in the United States.  Canada has a similar week called “Freedom to Read Week” held somewhere between January and March each year.  The purpose of this week is to bring awareness to the censorship of books in schools and community libraries.  Some books that have been banned in Canada include “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “McLean’s Magazine”, “The Bible”, “The Giver”, “Underground to Canada”, “Goosebumps Series”, and “Huckleberry Finn”. (Taken from  There is currently a movement in the U.S. to have the novel “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson banned.  It is the story of a young girl who is raped and her struggle to find a voice to tell someone about it.  This novel was originally published 11 years ago.  It has helped many children find their own voice.  I encourage you to listen to the author read the poem “Listen” inspired by the letters she has received from readers in those 10/11 years about the impact “Speak” has had on them.  You can watch the video here:

          Do I think that this is a book that everyone should read?  No.  It is not my place to say that this book is right for everyone.  However, I don’t believe that one person should have the right to ban me (or you) from reading it either.  So, in protest, I bought two copies of this book today.  I will keep one for myself to read, and to lend as others are interested.  I will pass the second one on to someone else (I have in mind the mother of 3 teen and tween girls and 1 teen boy).  I encourage you to pick a book that has been banned and do the same.  We have the “Freedom to Read” and I will “Speak Loudly” in support of that freedom.

           If you wish to have more information about the debate surrounding the novel “Speak”, you can follow the hashtag #speakloudly on Twitter, or you can read the author’s blog post here  or another blog post here that is collecting posts on this subject .

4 thoughts on “Banning Books

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  2. Jamie, I like how you specify that this book isn’t for everyone…but no book is. Stories have a wonderful way of connecting us and helping us find our voice. Books should not be kept from readers.

  3. Jamie, I am so glad you mentioned Freedom to Read Week as I think it is important to recognize and utilize Canadian resources, opinions and history around banned books. That being said, I too have been following the movement to ban Laurie Halse Anderson’s wonderful novel speak. I find it so amazing that via Twitter and the grassroots #speakloudly campaign we can create a powerful voice against the movement. Hopefully we will be more successful than the individual’s effective banning of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” – another truly wonderful book.

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