Ten years ago this month, we booked our very first special guest for an HPEF event – Judith Krug, the Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, the division behind the annual commemoration of Banned Books Week, which is being marked around the world this week.
Dr Krug’s talk at Nimbus 2003 in July was our first Keynote Luncheon, and at it, she spoke about misconceptions people had about the Harry Potter series, which led to censorship of the books in schools and libraries around the United States.
Some people believe that just the act of reading Harry will actually
automatically convert readers into witches[. Another] major
complaint is that the books glorify evil. When this charge is hurled,
I patiently explain that these books are about good and evil.
She also noted that while parents should be able to decide what their own children read and watch, censoring a book by removing it from a school or library imposes one person’s will on the entire community.
Ever since HPEF’s founding in 2002 and our first event in 2003, we have strongly believed that our events should include a wide range of perspectives and viewpoints about the Harry Potter books, films, fandom and impact on people around the world. And so, HPEF marks the 2011 Banned Books Week by celebrating the freedom to read, because it’s reading books – specifically the Harry Potter books, that brings all of us together online and for events like Ascendio.
Keep the tradition going by proposing a panel, presentation or group discussion on a subject inspired by censorship or book banning, or later this fall, propose a meet-up discussion of one of the books on the ALA’s List of Frequently Challenged Books; here’s last year’s list:
1) And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 2) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; 3) Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; 4) Crank, by Ellen Hopkins; 5) The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; 6) Lush, by Natasha Friend; 7) What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones; Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich; 9) Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie; 10) Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer