Yes, people are still trying to ban books. And they should be opposed.

You can shield yourself from ideas that make you uncomfortable or that you disagree with. You may be able, to some extent, to limit the exposure that the young people in your care have to those ideas.

But you cannot shield your community from the things you disagree with. That’s called censorship, and in any practical sense, it doesn’t work.

Yet people continue to try.

That’s why we have Banned Books Week (in 2018, Sept. 23-29) — because despite its obvious and practical futility, people continue to try. And librarians, bookseller, academics, and many people from across society continue to oppose the people who try.

Bannedbooks.org keeps up with the censorship efforts that occur throughout the year and on the website is a list of the books that came under the most fire in 2017. Here’s the list, but you’ll need to go to the website (About | Banned Books Weekto find out why:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
George y Alex Gino
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Efforts of censors almost inevitably fail — ideas don’t die just because you keep them out of public places — but that doesn’t mean we should stand idly by and let the censors run amok among us.

Opposing censorship is everyone’s job.

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About Jim Stovall

Jim Stovall, a retired journalism prof, is now a novelist, self publisher, watercolorist, gardener, woodworker and beekeeper -- among others things.

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