Hello everyone! And thanks for keeping up with our Banned Books Week Podcasts. We have already heard for Professor Shirley Nuhn and her students, Anh Truong and Faiza Mebarki. Now I’ve got a few words of my own! Enjoy:
Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning into this year’s Banned Books Week podcast! Every year, the NOVA Annandale Library collaborates with Professor Shirley Nuhn’s English as a Second Language students to create podcasts for Banned Books Week. How fitting, then, that this year’s theme is “Celebrating Diversity!” We’ve already heard the voices of Ahn Truong and Faiza Mebarki.
According to the American Library Association, 52% of books that are challenged over the past decade are considered to have “diverse content,” including books by and about people who experience language or literacy barriers, economic distress, cultural or social isolation, racism, and discrimination on the basis of appearance, ethnicity, immigrant status, religious background, sexual orientation”
Several black authors that are frequently challenged and banned at schools and libraries include Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Richard Wright. One book that has faced multiple challenges this year is “I am Jazz,” because it features the story of a transgender girl.
Do you want to know why I love being a librarian? Because I get to surround myself with thousands of great thoughts and ideas. Each book is like a person—with a different perspective and worldview. Sometimes these points of view are uncomfortable, challenging us to confront our own thoughts, biases or privileges. But that doesn’t mean we should fear them! Instead, we should rise to the challenge! By understanding someone else’s experience, we can develop empathy, compassion, and understanding.
I am white, heterosexual, and squarely in the middle class. This means that I benefit from privileges that many others are not afforded. In an age of police brutality against black people, widespread anti-immigrant bigotry, where laws are still being passed discriminating against transgender people, it is important that I understand that my experience is not the same as others. And I can do that through books.
So here is my challenge to you: Pick up a book that does not mirror your own experience! Read a different point of view! You don’t have to agree with it, but you do have to listen!
And if you guys have any books to recommend for me, list them in the comments. My promise: I will read every book that a commenter recommends and make a podcast about it!
Until next time, this is Heather Darnell, Library Media Specialist. Happy reading!