by KYW’s Dr. Marciene Mattleman

Banned Books Week, the last week of September, is sponsored by the American Library Association and celebrates the freedom to read. It started in 1982 responding to the sudden increase in the number of challenges in bookstores, libraries and schools. Since that time, more than 1,000 books have been challenged in every state in hundreds of communities. A map on the website shows locations 2007-2009.

Challenges usually are objections to profanity and slang, protests against portrayals of racial and religious groups and homosexuals. Many of the books assigned by schools are cited for unsuitability for age groups.

Both contemporary issues and classics from American literature have been challenged. In 2009, 460 challenges were reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.

Among the ten most challenged were: To Kill a Mockingbird (because of racism and offensive language), And Tango Makes Three (issue being homosexuality),Twilight (objections being religious viewpoint and sexual explicitness), The Color Purple (offensive language and sexuality) and The Chocolate War (for nudity, language and sexual explicitness).

Your choice of what to read is a right.

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