Do you remember the story of Ferdinand the Bull, who liked to just sit and smell the flowers? What about “Where the Wild Things Are”? These are among the favorites enjoyed last Saturday at our special Banned Books Week Storytime.
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event organized by the American Library Association and others to celebrate the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted challenges to books across the United States.
Our BBW celebration this year focuses on John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” (the subject of our townwide Big Read), which remains one of the top most challenged books over the decades, for its “vulgar” language and its unfavorable portrayal of organized religion, big business and other powerful institutions. We invite you to ponder this response as you read this American classic this fall.
In case you were wondering: Ferdinand’s peace-loving nature was condemned by the right wing as promoting pacifism during the Spanish Civil War, and Sendak’s classic has drawn ire for being too scary, for portraying unacceptable behavior by a child and for a variety of supposed dark psychological undertones.