Banned Books Week w/Judy Blume

Judy Blume, Lois Lowry, and other best-selling authors will read passages from their favorite banned and challenged books on Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. at Pioneer Court, 401 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. The Read Out! is free and open to the public; it marks the start of Banned Books Week, September 27 through October. 4. The American Library Association (ALA), McCormick Freedom Museum and the Chicago Tribune are sponsors of the event.

The authors participating in the readout include:

  • Judy Blume, "Forever"

  • Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

  • Ron Koertge, "The Brimstone Journals"

  • Lois Lowry, Newbery Medal winner and author of "The Giver"

  • Lauren Myracle, "TTYL"

  • Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Alice series

  • Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, authors of "And Tango Makes Three," the most challenged book of 2007.

    More than a book a day faces removal from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries, according to According to the ALA'. During Banned Books Week, thousands of libraries and bookstores throughout the country will celebrate our democratic society's most basic freedom -- the freedom to read. The Theme for Banned Books Week 2008 is "Closing books shuts out ideas." That theme will be reflected in exhibits, readings and special events held throughout the week.

    Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the National Association of College Stores. It is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book. For more information on book challenges and censorship, visit the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom's Banned Books Week Web site at

    Noon to 4 pm
    Saturday, September 27
    401 N. Michigan, Chicago

    Children's book on male penguins raising chick tops ALA's 2007 list of most challenged books

    For a second consecutive year, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell's award-winning "And Tango Makes Three," a children's book about two male penguins caring for an orphaned egg, tops the list of American Library Association's (ALA) 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007.

    Three books are new to the list "Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes; "The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman; and "TTYL," by Lauren Myracle.

    "Free access to information is a core American value that should be protected," said Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. "Not every book is right for each reader, but an individual's interpretation of a book should not take away my right to select reading materials for my family or myself."

    For more than 15 years, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has received reports on book challenges. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. In 2007 the OIF received 420 reports on efforts to abolish materials from school curriculum and library bookshelves.

    Public libraries, schools and school libraries report challenges to OIF, but a majority of challenges go unreported.

    The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2007"

    1. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

    2. "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

    3. "Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language

    4. "The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

    5. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain Reasons: Racism

    6. "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

    7. "TTYL," by Lauren Myracle Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

    8. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou Reasons: Sexually Explicit

    9. "It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

    10. "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

    Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved," both challenged for sexual content and offensive language

    Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990-2004

    1. Alvin Schwartz

    2. Judy Blume

    3. Robert Cormier

    4. J.K. Rowling

    5. Michael Willhoite

    6. Katherine Paterson

    7. Stephen King

    8. Maya Angelou

    9. R.L. Stine

    10. John Steinbeck

    Out of 8,332 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported


    Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We're Together; and the five-book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages. She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her.

    Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2004 she received the National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

    She is the founder and trustee of The Kids Fund, a charitable and educational foundation. She serves on the boards of the Author's Guild; the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; the Key West Literary Seminar; and the National Coalition Against Censorship.

    Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980's she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. Since then, she has worked tirelessly with the National Coalition Against Censorship to protect the freedom to read. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers.

    Judy is currently writing the final book in a series of four books for young readers, illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist James Stevenson. The first, Soupy Saturdays with the Pain & the Great One, was published in September, 2007. The second, Cool Zone with the Pain & the Great One, was issued in May and Going, Going, Gone! with the Pain & the Great One, her third book in this series, was published in August.

    Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.

    For more information, visit

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