Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 27–October 4, 2008
As we approach Banned Book Week, I've been asking readers to take the opportunity to read at least one book on the list. Today, I'd like you to consider reading I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
First, let me say that this book is one of my favorites, but if you are considering reading this you might consider reading this with friends. This book does touch on many sensitive subjects, and I found that I had to talk about it. It's that good, and that thought provoking.
This is a wonderful story of a young girl coming to age in the American South. This autobiography of the great American poet, Maya Angelou, depicts the pain that she and her brother Baily endure as their family is torn apart by divorce and their lives by racism. In the home of her paternal grandmother, Momma, the Angelou children learn about life, family and eventually love.
This book does contain scenes where the children are treated horribly, including the rape of Maya. It's on the list of books for 2007 because it is "Sexually Explicit". If my young child wanted to read this book I probably would steer them away from it. Older children and teens should read this book with a trusted adult to help them understand the difficult subjects. I would not ask to have it removed from the library because the issues in this book need to be addressed.The problem with book challenges is that the adult wants the book removed from ALL who enter the library, not just one.
Which brings up another point. Banned books are still able to be purchased, but if you are the poor child growing up in Stamps, AK (as did Maya Angelou) you'd have one place to get your books. The library. Removing books from public libraries or school libraries keeps these books from the hands of children who might otherwise not be able to read them.
Please take some time this week to read a banned book. I've suggested a few and will suggest more, but it's your freedom you are protecting.
More banned book talks to come this week, and starting on Monday we'll discuss ways to celebrate banned book week. For those of you in Chicago you can attend the "Banned Book Week Read Out." You can read about it here
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom.