"Free Your Mind--Read a Banned Book" is the theme for the thirtieth celebration of the freedom to read--Banned Books Week 2011. The Merrimack Public Library is participating with a display of banned and challenged books, special bookmarkers, and has available a booklet from the American Library Association listing 46 books banned or challenged in 2010-2011. This publication details author and titles with locations and reasons for objections.
Titles on this year's list include classics like Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Koran, and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl as well as new releases like Push by Sapphire, Stolen Children by Peg Kehret and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Two titles "Banned in Bedford" made the list--Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Challenges at Bedford High School resulted in these two items being removed from the curriculum. Public library use of these books has increased, with discussion and debate generated as well.
The main categories of objections are sex, profanity and racism. The American Library Association promotes reading a "Banned Book" to increase awareness and encourage family interactions toward a healthy approach to these topics.