September 16, 2022

Over the decades there have been numerous religious, political, militant, and activist groups that have aggressively tried, and too often succeeded, banning books. Over time some of the most controversial books have become classics. Here are a just a few:

📚 Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl

📚 Shakespeare's King Lear 

📚 Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

📚 The Bible 

📚 Homer's Odyssey

📚 ... even Mickey Mouse 

At one point in time or another most countries have had movements to ban books—Ireland, Iceland, Canada, Spain, France, England ... and of course there were the massive bonfires in Nazi Germany where thousands of books written by Jews were burned. 

Today we’re not talking about Nazi Germany–style actions, but should we be complacent? History would tell us we shouldn’t be! When we say a book is banned it usually means that it has been removed from a school’s curriculum, or public library, because a person or a group has objected to its content. But even that is problematic, because often these "banned books" focus on topics that are realistic, timeless and important to learn about. If students aren’t exposed to these topics in schools and libraries, they may never become aware of them.  

During Banned Books Week starting September 19, River Bookshop will be shining a light on "banned books" because we want children and adults to have a better idea of their world and their place in it. You will see some very bold writing on our windows to draw attention to a number of books that some people want banned today. Here are just some of the titles that our booksellers have picked out for you, in addition to the titles above:

📚 To Kill A Mockingbird

📚 1984

📚 Animal Farm

📚 Lord of the Flies

📚 The Hate U Give

📚 The Handmaid's Tale 

📚 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

So we hope you'll come and see the displays we're preparing in order to highlight many of the important titles we want to keep in people's collections. One of our favourite authors said it best:

"Run, don't walk, to the nearest non-school library or the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know!" 

—Stephen King

Your River Bookshop team 💪