There is a secret part of most people that wants to rebel, doing as one sees fit and taking a bite of the forbidden. Some people try to hide it; some people embrace it. But there is one forbidden fruit whose flavor brings more good than harm: books. Over the years, numerous books have been banned by schools or governments or parents to keep children from expanding their mental horizons beyond what is seen as “appropriate.” However, books that spark controversy usually also spark movements. These books are oftentimes the way-makers and the teachers of subjects that need to be learned. There is a beauty in their words, and we need to start listening.
As a freshman, I constantly saw events pop up over the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) campus. They prompted involvement in certain organizations or helped exposed passing students to various views. The one that stuck out most to me was Banned Books Week. Walking to class, I stumbled across a large group of students listening as their peers read aloud excerpts from a previously banned book that had touched their lives. Before that moment, I’d never heard of any week celebrating banned anything. But this week gave a voice to the books that had something that needed to be said. It gave a platform to voices that other people wanted quieted. I saw profound beauty in that. Books can teach readers what it means to be alive. They can illustrate intense emotions and introduce differing viewpoints and explain challenging topics.
At UNCW’s Banned Books Week, students from the English 382 course, “Teaching Ways of Literature,” stood together to give a voice to their favorite silenced story. A local bookstore, Old Books on Front Street, even had an employee come with copies of those books for students to purchase. Banned Books Week is seen as a needed time to solemnly reflect on all the opinions others tried to quiet. But it is also a sign that writers and readers want freedom of expression and are ready to stand up for that right. It provides everyone with the chance to support the books that moved them to think along the road less traveled.This year, the American Library Association‘s Banned Books Week runs from September 24-30. Take this week to reflect on the people who missed out on reading groundbreaking works like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Catch-22, The Catcher in the Rye, Leaves of Grass, Where the Wild Things Are, and many more. But don’t just give them a moment of silence. Be their voice! Go to your college’s or local bookstore’s Banned Books Week event. Purchase some banned books or just share why you love them. This year, stand up for the books that move you!
2017 Banned Books Week Social Media Contest
In celebration of Banned Books Week Sigma Tau Delta and National English Honor Society are teaming up to host the second annual Banned Books Week social media contest. To participate you must tag us in a post on any of the following social media accounts:
- NEHS Facebook
- NEHS Twitter (@NEHSXpress)
- Sigma Tau Delta Facebook
- Sigma Tau Delta Twitter (@EnglishCon)
- Instagram (@EnglishMatters)
- or snap us at englishmatters on Snapchat
What to do in your post: Books are banned for a variety of reasons. Take a photo of your favorite banned book and share with us (on one social media platform) one of the reasons it has been contested. If you wish to post on a second platform, please choose a second banned book to post about.
The contest will run from Sunday, September 24-Saturday, September 30. Everyone who participates during this time frame will be entered in a drawing to win one of three $25 Amazon gift cards. A $45 Amazon gift card also will be awarded for the best overall post.