“Oh Harry, don’t you see? If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!” – Hermione Granger, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Is it mere accident that JK Rowling’s beloved character, Hermione Jean Granger, talented Gryffindor and expert on Hogwarts: A History whose first recourse when facing trouble is to visit the library, celebrates her birthday in September? Or perhaps coincidence that September 22 marks birthdays for Bilbo and Frodo Baggins of Hobbiton, Middle Earth (J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy)?
What we can say for certain is that September is an important time on the calendar for book-lovers around the world. In addition to September being International Literacy Month, some examples:
- September 8 – International Literacy Day, annually as observed by the United Nations
- September 21 – Celebration of Minnesota Children’s Authors and Illustrators (Redwing, MN)
- Week of September 22-28 – Banned Books Week (American Library Association)
- September 24 & 25 – The National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. – American Library Association
On the subject of Banned Books Week, it’s important that local divers and their parents discuss guidelines for choosing titles suited to each reader’s readiness. When you look closely at lists of books that have been ‘banned’ in some locations across the country, it’s sometimes confusing to see titles like the Captain Underpants series, Harry Potter, and Alice in Wonderland alongside The Hobbit, Fahrenheit 451, The Golden Compass, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and To Kill a Mockingbird. An excellent resource to investigate together to start related conversations is CommonSense Media.
You even can choose to wear your love of books – literally – the next time you’re at Valley Bookseller. Be sure to admire their selection of ‘banned book’ jewelry and buttons (near the register) and, if you’re inclined, add them to your wish list.
- International Reading Association (reading.org)
- National Coalition Against Censorship: Kids’ Right to Read Project
- University of Minnesota: Children’s Literature Research Collections
- National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
- Library of Congress: Resources for Teens
- Library of Congress: Resources for Educators and Parents
- Library of Congress: American Memory