Celebrate Banned Books Week with the Central Arkansas Library System

Join CALS for its annual celebration of Banned Books Week, during which entertaining CALS events will commemorate the battle against censorship!

Groups that resist book banning have protected classic works such as To Kill a MockingbirdOne Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Lord of the Flies. These books that address important themes often contain disturbing scenes, as they reflect realistic challenges and situations in our world. But without disturbing us, authors would not be able to convey important truths such as the violence and injustice caused by racism, or the mistreatment of the mentally ill.

Banned Books Week honors freedom of choice for individuals, as well as the freedom to write on and read about important cultural topics even when those topics have the power to offend.

More information on the CALS Banned Books Week activities can be found here: https://cals.org/banned-books-week/

THE COLOR PURPLE shown and explored tonight as part of Banned Books Week

cals bbweek purpleThe Arkansas Literary Festival will celebrate Banned Books Week with an interview reenactment, a film, and a writing contest. A program based on Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-winning novel, The Color Purple, will be presented on Wednesday, September 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Ron Robinson Theater, 100 River Market Ave. After the presentation, the 1985 film will be shown. The event is free and open to the public.

Actresses Verda Davenport Booher and Vivian Norman will reenact part of an interview with Alice Walker. The interview touches on Walker’s inspiration for the book and on the success it has had, as well as the film and the musical.

Written as a series of letters, the 1982 novel been challenged repeatedly because of language, sexuality, and violence. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for eleven Academy Awards. A successful musical based upon the book opened on Broadway in 2005, and was nominated for ten Tony awards. Oprah Winfrey, nominated for an Oscar as best supporting actress in the film, was one of the producers of the musical. A pared-down revival of the musical is slated to open on Broadway in December, 2015.

Banned Books Week (September 27−October 3, 2015) is an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information and the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship and books that have been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

The Festival’s celebration of Banned Books Week is sponsored by the Fred K. Darragh Foundation. This is the Festival’s fifth annual Banned Books Week presentation. Other titles that have been featured include The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, A Clockwork Orange, A Doll’s House, and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Arkansas Literary Festival is a program of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS). For more information about the 2016 Arkansas Literary Festival, visit ArkansasLiteraryFestival.org, or contact Brad Mooy at 918-3098. For information on volunteering at the Festival, contact Angela Delaney at 918-3095.

My Favorite Banned Books

BBW15_518x800This is Banned Books Week.  Here are some of my favorite banned books.  Heck, they are some of my favorite books period.

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck
  • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • A Separate Peace, John Knowles
  • A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Go to the Central Arkansas Library System or a bookstore and get a copy of one of these this week.  Or if you already own them all, read one this week.

Sculpture Vulture for Banned Books Week – Dee Brown

20120519-114242.jpgThis week is Banned Books Week.  One of the books which has often appeared on Banned Books list is Arkansan Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.  In honor of that, today’s Sculpture Vulture revisits Kevin Kresse’s sculpture of the author which is located at the CALS branch which bears his name.

Visitors to the Dee Brown Library are greeted by Kevin Kresse’s 2004 sculpture of the celebrated author. The bronze likeness depicts Brown with a bepenciled hand raised to his chin as if in the midst of a wondrous thought while writing. The titles of some of his books surround the pedestal including his most famous book: 1971’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.

Brown was a graduate of Little Rock High and Arkansas State Teachers College (now Little Rock Central and University of Central Arkansas, respectively). After a career as a librarian and bivocational but prolific author, he returned to Little Rock in 1973 and focused full time on his writing. He died in 2002.

Perks, Missives, & Lux Melancholia tonight at CALS Ron Robinson Theater


As part of Banned Books Week, two divisions of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies are coming together to celebrate books and music.

This collaboration of the Arkansas Literary Festival and Arkansas Sounds will feature a screening of The Perks of Being a Wallflower and a concert by Scoop Slone and the Infinite, Thursday, September 25, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the CALS Ron Robinson Theater. The winner of the Banned Books Perks Letter Writing Contest will also be announced.

Sponsored by the Fred Darragh Jr. Foundation, this event event is free and open to the public.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 film written and directed by Stephen Chbosky, based on his own novel.  It stars Logan Lerman, Emma Watson and Ezra Miller.  Dylan McDermott, Kate Walsh, Paul Rudd and Joan Cusack are also in the cast.