Freedom to Read Week, February 26 - March 4, 2017
My mother says that my love of words began when I was a baby and she held me while reading stories to my older sister. Three of my grandparents were teachers so I figure I was doomed from the start. Car trips always involved word and alphabet games. To this day, I spend subway rides rearranging the letters on the posters.
Everyone figured out pretty early that I was less annoying if they just left me alone with a book so no one tried to limit my reading except for one thing. My mother would not let me read comic books because she said they were full of spelling mistakes. Right. As an adult I have a dual love affair with graphic novels and spell check.
I read whatever I could get my hands on; I managed to corrupt my entire grade 8 class with a Harold Robbins' book. I regret this only because the sex in the book, while graphic, was not particularly good from a female perspective.
Essentially, my reading life was unimpeded until high school. In grade 10, one of the assigned novels was a book called Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford. Although I had yet to crack it open, we'd been discussing it for about a week when we were suddenly told to give it back. When pressed the teacher told us that a parent had complained about racial slurs in the book. This was when I discovered that although I resented assigned reading, it was even worse to be told you couldn't read something.
Here are a few books that have been banned or challenged but that I love anyway:
The Stupids Take Off by Harry Allard and James Marshall
Thomas' Snowsuit by Robert Munch
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Freedom to Read Week is February 26-March 4.
Celebrate your freedom to read this week and every week by reading books you want to read!