Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day Two Banned Book Week

Today, Ellen Booraem talks Harry Potter, which surprisingly has been banned or challenged numorous times. Take it away, Ellen!

I’m always puzzled when people try to ban the Potter books. Although they are supremely entertaining, these books also have an unusually strong moral message—you’re never in any doubt about the distinction between good and evil, or our responsibility to choose between them. The last book makes it clear that redemption is always possible, and the only completely evil person is the one who refuses to seek it.

J.K.Rowling is not a polemicist, though. Her story’s enthralling plot is driven by the character of Harry, a flawed hero whose salvation is his capacity for love. And the books are funny even when tragic—the wizarding world often is a hilarious send-up of our own, from the bureaucrats to the journalists. One of my favorite characters dies with a joke on his lips.

I guess it’s the witchcraft that bothers the banners, but it would be hard to find a less satanic brand of magic. I mean, a world where the first wizard Harry meets is a half-giant with a pink parasol for a wand? What’s not to love?

Thanks Ellen! If you don't think books are still being banned or challneged, think again. The following is an excerpt from a press release from the American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom,(OIF).

Each year, the OIF receives hundreds of reports on books and other materials that were "challenged" by people who asked that they be removed from school or library shelves. There were 420 known attempts to remove books in 2007, and more than 9, 600 attempts since the ALA’s OIF began to electronically compile and publish information on book challenges in 1990. Unfortunately, it is believed that for every challenge or banning reported to OIF, there are four to five incidents not reported.

You can read more here.

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