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Banned Books Week 2021

There are many reasons for why a government might think a book is a dangerous thing to let into the country (or state). Often, books are banned for ideological reasons - although religion and sex play a big role in why many "powers that be" decide they don't want people to be able to read certain books.

Some of the books we regard today as classic texts, like All Quiet on the Western Front or Moll Flanders were banned by at least one government at some point in time. Translations of both the Bible and the Qu'ran have been banned for various reasons in various states.

And, judging by the number of countries that have banned them, Satanic Verses and Mein Kampf seem to be vying for the title of "least popular book".

But very few books are banned at the level of a state or country government. Most censorship happens closer to home, with books being banned in schools and communities. At this level, the banned books tend to face opprobrium because they feature sexuality or challenge prevailing religious beliefs - but it's often because they dared to feature a gay character, or suggest that maybe racism is a character flaw.

Banned Books Week is a week every year where librarians, teachers, writers and booksellers all over the world draw attention to the problems with banning books because they clash with the "values of the community" - asking whether or not those "values" need to be challenged, and if they are causing distress to members of our "communities". The argument behind Banned Books Week is that the books that provoke strong reactions are the ones that raise issues we should be discussing, not hiding.

So find a banned or challenged book and ask yourself "Why was this book challenged? Why is it challenging?"

You can find some ideas here:


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