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The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Banned Book Reading combats censorship

Mallory Kaul

Celebrating Banned Book Week, ULM’s branch of Sigma Tau Delta hosted its annual book reading.  The International English Honors Society invited students and faculty to read passages from their favorite banned books. 

English professor Patrick Morgan kicked off the event by reading a few poems from Shel Silverstein’s “A Light in the Attic.” Silverstein’s picture books, such as “The Giving Tree” remain staples in school libraries; however, that was not always the case. 

U.S. schools challenged “A Light in the Attic” during the 1980s because of complaints that the novel encouraged disobedience and implied cannibalism. 

“By bringing attention to banned books, we celebrate the freedom to read,” Morgan said. “Banned books are never just about the books: what is really being banned is thoughts.  When writers craft stories, they give voice to the lived experience of being human: banning books is a denial of certain aspects of what it means to be human.” 

President of Sigma Tau Delta, Mallory Kaul, read a few lines from Dave Pikey’s “Captain Underpants.”  Over 80 million copies of “Captain Underpants” have been sold across the globe.

Several schools in Michigan banned Pikey’s books because of so-called violence, bathroom humor and the appearance of a same-sex couple. 

“Self-expression is the point of the arts,” Kaul said. “That author’s voice is silenced when people ban books. They [authors] have the freedom to say what they want. It’s an American right.”

Students also read passages from E.B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web” and Lois Lowry’s “The Giver.”

“This is my first Sigma Tau Delta event,” sophomore pre-pharmacy major Meghan Gallagher said. “I thought that it would be interesting to see what books everyone brought and what they had to say about them.”

Sigma Tau Delta joined the American Library Association for Banned Book Week. According to the ALA, 695 attempts have been made to censor books since January.

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