In the United States, the Week for Prohibited Books was convened, from September 18 to 24, as a form of resistance against the growing censorship in the country, especially in 2022, when there is “a particularly aggressive wave of prohibitions and challenges in the whole nation.”
“Libraries are at the forefront in the fight against censorship”, was the manifesto made by the New York Public Library, an active convener to read those titles banned in recent years, most of which focus on the voices of people black and LGBT.
Some of the copies included in this black list are the illustrated book Where the monsters live, by Maurice Sendak; the novel The Handmaid’s Taleby Margaret Atwood and the color purple, by Alice Walker. autobiographical comic gender-queer, by Maia Kobabe, tops the list, having been removed from 41 school districts. According to the most recent PEN AmErica report, the bans have affected more than 5,000 schools and 4 million students, undermining the freedom to read and learn.
In the New York library, the words of the novelist Toni Morrison are the badge for activities as a defender of free speech. Her work and her legacy are inserted in several of the readings and activities that are offered these days. In her honor will be read loved Y The Bluest Eyefrequently marked by prohibition.
“The thought that leads me to contemplate with awe other voices being erased, unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being heard by the wrong people, proscribed languages flourishing underground, questions from essayists challenging authority that never are raised, unstaged plays, canceled movies, that thought is a nightmare. As if an entire universe were described with invisible ink”, she quotes the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.
The initiative Banned Books Week started in 1982 to highlight titles that were removed from education curricula and from public libraries. The American Library Association (ALA) was a pioneer and recently reported a record number of censored books in recent years.
This week, with the vision focused on uncomfortable issues facing the conservative gaze, is considered an opportunity to magnify these stories and voices that censorship is trying to repress. In addition, you are invited to share the label on social networks #ReadBannedBooks and stand up for the right to read.
Threat to free expression
The organization PEN America reported that the number of prohibited books has increased in schools in the United States, which is a threat to free expression and the rights of students, who lose access to literature.
In his report published on September 19 as part of Banned Books Week, he noted that “the vast majority of current book bans are not spontaneous expressions of citizen concerns. Rather, they reflect the work of a growing number of organizations that have made it their mission to demand the censorship of certain books and ideas.
According to their records, from July 2021 to June 2022, 1,648 titles have been affected on school book lists. There are 1,261 different authors, 290 illustrators and 18 translators. 41 percent explicitly express LGBT themes and another 40 percent have black characters. The rest address issues of racism, sex education, civil rights and religious minorities.
On the map they have prepared with their report, the states of Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania stand out because of the top numbers. These closures have occurred in 138 districts in 32 states, representing more than 5,049 schools and affecting almost 4 million students.