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Banned books week begins

As a nationwide week dedicated to the various books that many have sought to ban kicks off, many of the old debates about what books children should and should not read still linger in public forum.

Literature such as Harry Potter and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" are both commonly found among the curriculum of many public schools, however, many throughout the country also feel that they are works to which children should not be exposed. The reason people have sought to ban each book differs – for example, Twain's controversial use of the "N-word" in "Huckleberry Finn" is much different than the issues of witchcraft that people take up with Harry Potter.However, in both instances issues of the values that children should be exposed to are addressed.

Banned Book week
The practice of trying to ban books from schools and libraries is a long one. This is why a number of organizations, such as the American Library Association have come together to sponsor Banned Books Week, which runs from September 22 to September 28, to address the importance of having these books to expose people to unpopular or unorthodox ideas. The Washington Post highlights 2012's most contested books of the year, of which, many can share some common themes.

A book being "unsuited for age group" for example was not difficult to come across, as this reason emerged among five of the ten books, while other issues addressing topics that were sexual in nature or involved homosexuality also frequented these books. While such issues can be difficult to discuss for some, its is these books fearlessness in addressing them so important.

Controversy in High Point
These issues are resurfacing in parts of the country, as two recent attempts to ban books in North Carolina public schools have surfaced. High Point Enterprise explains that two counties in the state have attempted to ban books that address societal issues facing the country. In Randolph County, the Board of Education voted to remove "Invisible Man," a novel by Ralph Ellison that addresses issues of slavery and racism in the United States. In Guildford County, a group of parents requested that Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaids Tale" be removed from school libraries, which portrays a futuristic society in which women are second class citizens.

Both of these books also address controversial issues that continue to face the country, making them essential tools to help navigate these issues. While it may be difficult to pin down all the issues for the banning of each book, it is important to examine the various issues that they are addressing, and what it says about the country as a whole.

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