Freedom To Read Week

Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom. Many Canadians are unaware of the fact that many books and magazines are banned at the border. Similarly Libraries are regularly asked to remove items from their collection. Below is a brief list of books available at Leddy Library that have been challenged in Canada. For more information on Freedom to Read Week and more challenged books click here, for a brief history on censorship and book banning click here.

Fiction

Title: The Harry Potter Series     

Description:

Wildly popular children’s book series depicting a magical world of witches and wizards.

Challenge:

In 2000, a parent in Corner Book, Nfld., complained about the presence of these popular fantasy novels in an elementary school. The parent objected to the depiction of wizardry and magic, and the school principal ordered the books’ removal.

 

Title: The Wars                     Call Number: PS 8511 .I48 W37 2001

Description:

Robert Ross, a sensitive nineteen-year-old Canadian officer, went to war — The War to End All Wars. He found himself in the nightmare world of trench warfare, of mud and smoke, of chlorine gas and rotting corpses.

The novel won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction in 1977.

Challenge:

A parent objected to depictions of sex and violence in the novel. She especially objected to a character’s visit to a whorehouse and depictions of a homosexual gang rape. She said the novel was “inappropriate to be presented to a class of young people,”

 

Title: Of Mice and Men              Call Number: PS3537.T3234 O5 1938

Description:

Novel that describes the hardships of migrant workers in California during the Great Depression.

Challenge:

In 1994, in Alberta’s legislature, Victor Doerksen called for the removal of profane, irreligious  books from Alberta’s schools. He cited Steinbeck’s novel, which describes the hardships of migrant workers in California during the Great Depression, as an example. Doerksen had a petition that bore the signatures of 811 Albertans who wanted schools to withdraw books that “demean or profane the name of God and Jesus Christ.”

 

Title: The Handmaid's Tale                       Call Number: PS8501.T9 H35 1985

Description:

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel, a work of science fiction or speculative fiction, written by Canadian author Margaret Atwood and first published by McClelland and Stewart in 1985. Set in the near future, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid’s Tale explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.

Challenge:

In 2008 a parent in Toronto formally complained about the use of this dystopian novel in a Grade 12 English class at Lawrence Park Collegiate. The parent said that the novel’s “profane language,” anti-Christian overtones, “violence” and “sexual degradation” probably violated the district school policies that require students to show respect and tolerance to one another.

Children’s Books

Title: And Tango Makes Three             Call Number:PZ10.3.R414 T36 2005

Description:

Children’s book about penguins.

Challenge:

In 2006 A parent complained about this picture book on religious grounds, the parent objected to the theme of homosexual parenting. The Library eventually removed the book from it's collection.

Title: Daddy’s Roommate                    Call Number: PZ7.W655485 D32 1990

Description:

The book deals with the subject of homosexual parents.

Challenge:

In 2005 a patron complained that this fictional children’s book, was “not a proper role model for children.”

 

Nonfiction

Title: Three Wishes               Call Number: DS119.7 .E43 2006

Description:

Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak is about the children of the war-torn Middle East. Deborah Ellis, turns her attention from the children of Afghanistan to the children of Israel and Palestine, presenting their stories based on interviews done in the winter of 2002 while in Israel and Palestine.

Challenge:

In 2006 the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) urged public school boards to deny access to this children’s non-fiction book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to students in the elementary grades. The CJC argued that the book provided a flawed historical introduction, portrayed Israeli soldiers as brutal, expressed ethnic hatred and glorified suicide bombing.

 

Title: Hitler’s War                         Call Number: D757 .I69

Description:

This book describes WWII from the viewpoint of Adolf Hitler.

Challenge:

In 2004 a complaint was made that said Irving was a Holocaust denier and that the library should not carry his book. After conducting a review, librarians retained the book in the collection. In their review, librarians noted that three local universities stock Hitler’s War in their collections. The Kitchener Public Library also carries more than 200 books on the Holocaust, including memoirs, to ensure a variety of viewpoints.