Green River Star -

By Lindsey Travis
Sweetwater County Library System 

Celebrate banned books


On Oct. 10, the Sweetwater County Library will be swarming with kids dressed in their Harry Potter best as we transform the library into our version of Hogwarts for our annual Harry Potter Party. The kids will be making snitches and attending the Yule Ball. It will be magical.

Can you imagine, however, a world where kids (and adults) didn’t know about Harry, Hermione and Ron? A world where kids didn’t know what a muggle was? A world without Quidditch and golden snitches? If critics had their way, that’s exactly what we would have. J.K. Rawlings’ magical book series is one of the most challenged and banned this millennium.

But why would anyone want to ban books that have turned millions of kids (and adults) onto reading? The use of magic and showing wizards and witches as good is one of the many reasons cited. I personally think that people challenge books because of fear. Fear that a book may change opinions. Fear that books may cause people to act. Fear that a book may reveal an unsettling truth. Fear of the unknown.

It’s Banned Books Week, so I took a little bit of time to look at the American Library Association’s list of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books. Many of the books on the list have had a profound impact on society. Along with the Harry Potter books, influential books such as John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men,” Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,” and Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” made the list. Many kids’ books have made the list as well, including “A Wrinkle in Time,” “Blubber,” the Junie B. Jones series, and “Captain Underpants.” Some of my favorite books such as “Beloved,” “Fahrenheit 451,” and the “Kite Runner,” also made the list.

I personally believe that the freedom to read is something to celebrate, and the library gives you the opportunity to do so. We have a great selection of books from which to choose, and of course you can read them for free. I encourage you to drop by the library this week and pick out any book that you want. We won’t discourage certain books, and we won’t judge you based on your book selection. If we don’t have the book you’re looking for, we will try to help you get the book from another library through Interlibrary Loan.

Now, back to Harry Potter. Bring your kids to the Harry Potter Party on Oct. 10. The festivities take place between 1 and 3 p.m. If your kids (or you) haven’t read the Harry Potter books yet, perhaps now is the time to give them a go.

If Harry Potter isn’t your type of book, that’s OK. Stop by and we’ll help you pick out a book that suits your taste.


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