Breaking Bans: A Reading & Celebration of Banned Books
In celebration of Banned Books Week which this year takes place September 18 – 24th, Wheatgrass Books will host a happy-hour style reading of short passages from a selection of banned books. The event will take place Saturday September 24th at 4pm and will be emceed by local writer, Stacy Peterson.
Peterson says, “As a historical fiction author, I believe it’s important not to censor history, but to own it and learn from it to move forward as a society. I think censorship comes out of fear, often disguised as moral outrage, but it causes silence when we need speech. I’ll be reading an excerpt out of The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, the work in which he said it best: ‘The books that the world calls immoral are books that show it’s own shame.”
Some of the other participating readers include, Dorothy Bradley, Caitlin Chiller, Keegan Nashan, Annie Conley, Star Struble, Emily Rasmuss, Fiona Shinn, and children’s author, Janet Fox.
Janet Fox will read from Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi which been banned in schools and libraries for frank discussions of our country’s historical racism.
Emily Rasmus will read from Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson which in 2020 was named the fourth most banned and challenged book in the U.S., thought to contain a political viewpoint, and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity.”
Some of the other books that will be read from: To Kill A Mockingbird, Kite Runner, Between the World and Me, Catch-22, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the U.S. for Young People and more.
According to the ACLU’s website about banned books, Between the World and Me, in October 2021, was included in a list of school library books targeted for investigation by Texas Rep. Matt Krause during the state’s ongoing debate about banning “critical race theory” from classrooms. The story is told through a letter from the author to his 15-year-old son. Its frank discussions about race have made it controversial in schools and incarceration facilities seeking to ban it. In the second half of the book, Coates recounts learning about the death of a college classmate at the hands of police. He reflects on the social and economic impact of senseless death in a poignant and memorable way.
From the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom:
“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”