Support banned books show

Published 11:29 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

Artists, it’s time to break out your pencils, paints, clay and miscellaneous found objects of all different kinds.

Submissions are being accepted for the Underground Art Show through Sept. 28, and the work will be judged and displayed from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 29 at the North Suffolk Library, 2000 Bennetts Creek Park Road.

The library program is in celebration of Banned Books Week. It asks artists to present their own artistic interpretation of their favorite banned book.

Email newsletter signup

“It could be the same book, but people will interpret it differently in their own artwork,” Library Services Coordinator Angela Martin said. “It’s very inspiring, and it really highlights the banned books.”

The practice of banning books is an age-old debate that unfortunately still exists. Often, folks want to ban books simply because the stories they portray are similar to real life and real people. How silly is that?

Asked to name a book that has been banned, a lot of folks can correctly peg the classic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee. It has been challenged and banned because it portrays violence and uses racial slurs, common for the setting of the book.

According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “To Kill a Mockingbird” was the seventh most-challenged book in 2017. The top was Jay Asher’s “Thirteen Reasons Why,” a young adult novel that was challenged and banned because it discusses suicide. Suicide, unfortunately, is a heartbreaking reality of our world. I haven’t read “Thirteen Reasons Why,” nor did I watch the Netflix series. But I can’t think of one reason not to let an older teen read a book about suicide. Young people know what suicide is — why not let them read a book that discusses it?

True to the times, many recently challenged books were challenged because they contain LGBT characters, discuss sex or drug use, include multiple profanities or even are believed to promote Islam, such as last year’s No. 4 most-challenged book, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.

Even the Bible has been challenged, popping up as the No. 6 most-challenged book on the ALA’s 2015 list.

Banned books aren’t banned outright, of course. Most often, it’s their inclusion in school libraries, school curriculums or public libraries that is being challenged and banned.

You can see the theme, of course. Nobody’s trying to censor books meant for adults. But some adults are trying to censor what children read, simply because they do not agree with the subject matter or think it’s too grown up for their child.

But I think properly raised children and teens can read books on subject matter that challenges them, expands their horizons and helps them to think for themselves. They’ll be just fine without us grown-ups cleansing their personal literary diet from everything that may possibly upset or confuse them or potentially even introduce them to part of life they weren’t aware of before reading the book.

If you want to participate in the upcoming art show to support the Banned Books Week celebration, call 514-7323 for more information, or visit or the Suffolk Public Library Facebook page for a copy of the submission form.