Originally Published: September 25, 2007 9:12 p.m.
Celebrate your freedom to read during Banned Books Week 2007, Sept. 29 through Oct. 5. This year's theme: "Free People Read Freely." Books have been challenged and banned for many reasons over the years. The Holy Bible has been challenged for offensive language and sexual explicitness. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is regularly challenged for racism, and was also challenged soon after its publication for its use of dialect. Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and J.D. Salinger's "Catcher In the Rye" were on the top 10 list of challenged for many years. Challenge yourself this week with one of our selections, or visit the American Library Association Banned Books Week site (www.ala.org/bbooks) for more information and lists of challenged and banned books."Slaughterhouse Five" by Kurt Vonnegut, 1969.Part science-fiction and partly based on Vonnegut's own experience during the firebombing of Dresden in WWII, this book has been one of the most challenged books in the United States. It was burned in North Dakota in 1973, banned in many places and was considered in a Supreme Court case in 1982. That said, it garnered critical acclaim when it was published, was nominated for several awards and was made into a movie in 1972. It is considered by many to be one of the best novels of the 20th century. Read this unique novel and decide for yourself. - Anna Smith"And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Grades Pre-K to three. 2005.This charming picture book tells the true story of Roy and Silo, two male penguins who adopt an egg and raise a baby penguin together at New York's Central Park Zoo. From the cover image of proud parents and fluffy baby Tango to the gentle text and watercolor illustrations, this is a family story in the truest sense. It is a wonderful book to read aloud. It was also the most frequently challenged book of 2006. - Amadee Ricketts"Lady Chatterley's Lover" by D. H. Lawrence. 1928.The story of an adulterous love affair between aristocrat Constance Chatterley and gamekeeper Mellors used sexually explicit language. For many years the only copies were from a private printing or pirated copies. In 1960, after obscenity court trials both in the U.S. and England, the book was successfully defended because it had social value. By today's purple prose, Lady Chatterley seems almost tame. Some suggest the real obscenity was love between an aristocrat and a commoner. - Claudette Simpson"Shade's Children," by Garth Nix. 1997.Many young adult novels are challenged for reasons similar to this one: "vulgar, obscene and educationally unsuitable." This dark science-fiction tale is set in a future in which all the people over 16 years of age have disappeared. Children are raised in dorms and, at age 16, their bodies are used to create terrible monsters used in the war games of the Overlords, who have taken over the planet. A small group of psi-gifted teens set out to conquer the conquerors with the help of Shade, a near-sentient computer. Thought-provoking. - Sharon SeymourThe Library Ladies are on the staff of Prescott Public Library.