No Book Left Behind

Do you love books? Do you think the First Amendment is important? Did you reply yes to both of the previous questions? Then you should be celebrating. This week (and the last week of September every year since 1982) is Banned Books Week. It’s an American commemoration of the freedom to read, reflecting on the history of books that have been banned in the past and those that have more recently been banned.

Over 11,000 titles have been challenged in bookstores, libraries, and schools throughout the U.S. in the last 29 years. Some of the most surprising of these include the dictionary; the beloved children’s book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?; Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach; a couple of Ernest Hemingway titles; and Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. The 10 most-challenged titles of 2010 include And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book based on the true story of a male penguin couple that lived in the Central Park Zoo and was given an egg to hatch and raise together; and both The Hunger Games and Twilight series.

I am an editor—a “proofreader/copy editor” if you want to get technical about it—and several of my clients are book writers. Needless to say, Banned Books Week really hits home for me. I also have a journalism degree from the University of North Texas; therefore, I’ve been taught to form an objective opinion. The older I get and the more experiences I encounter, however, the more my opinions become less and less impartial. I think most of us as individuals and people who are “out there” searching for a purpose want to spend our lives learning and, in turn, growing. In this age of technology, we crave further knowledge—and, fortunately, it is right there at our fingertips.  Props to the First Amendment.

As an understanding person, it makes sense to me that certain people can become incredibly offended when it comes to some of the things that are written in books. On the other hand, I don’t see how one parent’s, teacher’s, or librarian’s opinion can sway an entire school to get rid of something that has been put out into the edifying atmosphere as a piece of educational material. There are plenty of books out there that I don’t necessarily want to spend my time reading, but that doesn’t mean I think those books should be removed from shelves.payday loans One aspect of a book may offend me but it most likely won’t offend everybody else.

I believe that the act of banning books is selfish and naïve. Human beings are supposed to be exposed to various situations in order to find out who they are and to learn from and about others. Reading is one of these educational, unique experiences that everyone should have access to; it is important for people to read and to be able to read what they desire to read.

We should all appreciate Banned Books Week for backing up our freedom of speech, for raising awareness about banning books, and for the pursuit of educating people about banning books so that we can all form our own opinions about it. My hope is that you will celebrate this week by reading and by being thankful for your freedom to do so.

To learn more about Banned Books Week, please visit


Cassie Smith from Polish Professional EditingCassie Smith is the owner of Polish Professional Editing, a Dallas, TX based business providing copy-editing and proofreading services. Her client list includes CURE magazine, CoxToday magazine, book authors, advertising firms, nonprofit organizations, professors, columnists, bloggers, and students. Cassie’s written work has been published in The Arkansas Traveler and the NTDaily, the student newspapers of the University of Arkansas and the University of North Texas, where she attended college. Although Cassie is an editor at heart, she truly enjoys writing and is happy to be visiting those roots again as a guest blogger on To learn more about Cassie and Polish Professional Editing, please visit

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