Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Book Bans are about control

"Of course it's a worry when anybody takes it upon themselves to dictate what people should or should not read. The power of organised religion is very strong in the US, and getting stronger because of the internet." -- Philip Pullman, 2009

In 2008, Pullman's books were taken from school libraries and public library shelves."One challenge at a school in Winchester, Kentucky was made on the grounds that the book's main character drinks wine and eats poppy with her meals. Another school in Oshkosh, Wisconsin pulled the trilogy because of its "anti-Christian message".

Back in 2009, when Pullman's trilogy became the second-most banned book of the year, ALA's Deborah Caldwell-Stone issued words that two decades later would become a mantra: "We believe parents do have the right to dictate their children's reading, but that right exists for their children alone and should not be extended to others."

All this means that those of us who read these books -- usually purchased from bookstores -- were wholly unaware that they were reading a censored version.