It’s Banned Books Week! This is an annual celebration of the Freedom to Read. Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week raises awareness of the fact that people are still trying to ban books and highlights the value of free and open access to information. Libraries and others in the book community use the week to show support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
During most of the 20th century, Australia was one of the strictest censors in the western world. Most imported publications were closely inspected before being released, and Australia frequently banned what was considered suitable reading in other countries such as Europe and America.
The Commonwealth Customs Department, which had the authority to prohibit imports, kept a reference library of around 15,000 books, magazines and comics banned in Australia between the 1920s and the 1970s.
Some of my favourite books were once considered unsuitable including To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Bridge to Terabithia, even the Harry Potter series.
This week’s prompt comes from one such banned book, The Grapes of Wrath.