There is a towering section of books in a library with a bright red sign in front of it that says, “DO NOT READ”.
People tend to walk by this sign and by these books without thought or consideration. Those poor books wish to be read, but they are ostracized and oftentimes ignored by passers. However, there are the occasional few that stop.
They stand before the mammoth section of the DO NOT READ books and are dwarfed as well as amazed. Within those few a calling lives that demands an epic life and story.
Standing before this specific compilation of books, they evaluate the options for possibly reading the DO NOT READ books:
Option 1. Study for years to become the world’s greatest magician. Stage a performance at the library where the gargantuan section of books will disappear. They will simply be transferred to a furnished bunker in Albuquerque where the world’s greatest magician will retire and read the DO NOT READ books.
Option 2. Perform the world’s largest DO NOT READ book heist. For this option a misfit group of individuals will come together for this common cause. Each using a unique ability, they will steal the books. In the process there will be multiple comedic breaks and the occasional suspenseful moment when it might all go to shambles. In the end, they will all be a part of a mysterious and exclusive book club that only reads the DO NOT READ books.
Option 3. Very discreetly or not very discreetly, in a ninja-like manner or like a herd of thieving elephants, take down the bright red DO NOT READ sign in front of the perfectly-shelved books.
On Sept. 26 a group of students and educators at ABAC choose Option 3. Various individuals, peers and educators, stood before the teeming, curious crowd to read excerpts from the DO NOT READ books.
Some of the excerpts read included, Shel Siverstein’s "Where the Sidewalk Ends," Allen Ginsberg’s poem "Howl," and R.L. Stine’s "Night of the Living Dummy."
The DO NOT READ books are books banned or frequently challenged in schools or libraries. Books are usually challenged or banned because of what some consider inappropriate content, but as Marie Davis, Director of Library Services at the Baldwin Library, pointed out at the Banned Books Reading, most of the individuals challenging these books haven’t even read them.
They are instead told by others how inappropriate certain scenes in certain books are and then decide to restrict others from reading these so called “inappropriate” books.
Books are written by human beings and help to define and catalog the human experience. So while some books may contain vulgar language, sexual scenes, and/or incredible violence, they are only a representation of the true human experience and the true human world.
Protecting the young from innocence-ruining influences is understandable, but there is a time when maturity and understanding needs to begin. The best way to encourage understanding is to encourage reading.
From reading, minds are expanded with ideas and questions and new vocabulary, and therefore, new ways to express oneself.
A sincere thanks, a big hug, and two thumbs up goes to Pegasus, specifically Dr. Jeff Newberry, Dr. Sandra Giles and The Baldwin Library, specifically Davis, for sponsoring this event and encouraging the masses to explore the practically infinite world of literature. Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read, according to the banned books website (www.bannedbooks.org).
On the banned books website curious readers can also find a list of the top most challenged and frequently banned books in 2012.