It is Freedom to Read Week in Canada. I thought censorship was a problem that had been largely overcome in the West, but then I read through the Canadian Library Association’s list of challenged books. In 2010, 74 books and magazines were challenged in public and school libraries in Canada. What is really disturbing is that often books with a controversial reputation are quietly dropped from the school curriculum or pulled from circulation so there can be no public debate about the merits of the work.
Here are just a few of the books and magazines that were challenged in 2010 in Canadian libraries and schools:
- Canfield, Jack, et al. Chicken Soup for the Unsinkable Soul
- Gaiman, Neil. American Gods
- Hergé. Tintin in the Congo
- Lucas, George, Hisao Tamaki and David Land. Star Wars: A New Hope
- Perrault, Charles. The Complete Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault
- Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter. (7 books in series)
- Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Some of these books are classics or seem rather harmless to me. Some of the other books on the list are religious in nature or might be questionable in taste – to me. But who am I to say what you what you should or shouldn’t read?
Other famous books that have been banned in the past include:
- Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
- Lady Chatterly’s Lover – D. H. Lawrence
- Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
- Animal Farm – George Orwell
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Exercise your freedom of expression and read a banned book!