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Banned Books Week

October seems to be a very big "awareness" month - domestic violence, breast cancer, shelter animals and banned books week, to name a few. Subjects we should be aware of 365 days a year, not just the days leading up to Halloween, but whatever.

Banned Books Week - September 29, 2007 - October 6, 2007

If you're not in the school or public library system, or talking to people who are, it is easy to forget that our first amendment rights are being challenged more often than we realize. That's the one about congress not making any laws "Respecting an Establishment of Religion, or Prohibiting the Free Exercise Thereof; or Abridging the Freedom of Speech, or of the Press; or the Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble, and To Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances.”

The trick for me, though, is to remember that it's not just like-minded people who have a right to speak freely. Even if it is Ann Coulter.

“If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”—Noam Chomsky, speaking in a BBC television interview with John Pilger on The Late Show (1992)

When Matt was teaching high school English, I was stunned at the books parents wanted to protect their children from. I mean, God forbid they were exposed to new and different ideas. I'm proud to have a husband and friends who taught and teach these "dangerous" books. And I can't wait to share some of my favorites with Baby Chi Chi and see which ones he picks up on his own. However, if he hates reading, I will consider that an act of aggression against us. My parents, for all their strictness, never, ever censored my reading. My dad would raise his eyebrows at some of my choices and question if it was the best use of my time, but he always respected my right to read whatever interested me. And a lot of those books are on this list of most frequently challenged books of 1999-2000.

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