North Texas Daily

UNT holds banned books read-out event

UNT holds banned books read-out event

UNT holds banned books read-out event
September 22
23:55 2013

Javier Navarro / Staff Writer

A superhero in his underpants, a penguin with two dads and a young boy attending a school for wizardry have a few things in common. They’re all subjects of books that have banned in the country.

Banned Books Week is an annual event held during the last week of September that celebrates the freedom to read books and brings the community together to share that freedom.

UNT is holding its own event hosted by International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta on Monday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the gazebo between the Language and Auditorium buildings on campus. Students and faculty will read books aloud that have been banned or challenged in the past.

English professor and Sigma Tau Delta faculty advisor Dr. Nicole Smith said that this is a great way for students to come together and gain some perspective.

“This is an opportunity to both listen and support the foundations of our own democracy – the freedom of speech, freedom to read and freedom to access open information,” Smith said.

Smith said that every year, people who sign up will read for 10 minutes and pass the microphone around, and passing students are welcomed to come and listen. Books such as “Harry Potter” and “Looking for Alaska” will be among the pieces being read this year.

Banned Books Week started in 1982 and was sponsored by the American Library Association as a response to a large influx of books that were being challenged at the time. According to the Banned Books Week website, 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, with last year’s most challenged books being the “Captain Underpants” series.

Books can be banned by libraries and school boards and are restricted because of content inappropriate for its intended audience.

Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson’s “And Tango Makes Three,” a children’s book based upon a true story about two male penguins trying to hatch an egg, is one example. Critics consider the book inappropriate for children because it deals with homosexuality and promotes a political agenda.

English senior and Sigma Tau Delta co-president Thomas Hall said that since many of the complaints come from parents, the parents should instead have a conversation with their children about the book’s content.

“If elementary schools are big on banning books, if they feel some of the material is inappropriate for their age, then they should bring that up with the parents and get a conversation going,” Hall said.

Creative writing senior Samuel Coronado has been part of the event in the past and said it helps students remember that books they grew up with are being challenged.

“It keeps the UNT community aware of the diversity of the [books],” Coronado said. “All different kinds of books that speak to all different kinds of people are sort of at stake here.”

Smith said that UNT has held the event for about five years. In previous years, the event has been held in the Shrader Pavilion, which is currently blocked by the union construction, and has garnered crowds from 50 to 100 people.

The event has 18 people signed up to read.

The Banned Books display near the Library Services Desk on the first floor of Willis Library. Banned Books Week is an annual event held by Sigma Tau Delta to celebrate the freedom to read. -Photo by Zixian Chen / Staff Photographer 

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