Censorship is nothing new in schools and libraries across the United States. Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) hosts a week to celebrate the right to read and freedom of speech. It is intended to remind people that although we may seem like an open minded society, books are challenged frequently throughout the year. Over 326 books were challenged in 2011 and over 400 in 2012. These range from children’s books to books for high school students.
The reason books are banned or challenged range from sexual content, inappropriate for a particular age group or as in the case of Stuck in Neutral by Terry Trueman, a book about “a teen with cerebral palsy that deals with such subjects as disabilities, quality of life, and euthanasia” Creekwood Middle School in Humble, Texas thought the book was an “inappropriate reading assignment”.
This year, Grassroots Books in Reno celebrated the event at their store on Grove Street with a number of authors reading from their favorite “Banned Book”. Participants included Sean Savoy, ordained spiritual educator, writer, editor and public speaker, Chuck Short, KBZZ, Paula Joe Riley (Pjo Riley), writer and photographer based in Reno, Nevada since 1974, Shaunta Grimes, author, newspaper reporter, drug court counselor and substitute teacher and David Michael Slater, teacher and author of numerous award-winning books.
Banned Books Week at Grassroots Books was sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Washoe County Library System, the University of Nevada Writing Center, and Jimmy’s Italian Ice and Gourmet To Go. The emcee for the event was Pan Pantoja of Spoken Views.