On the week of February 24 to March 2 2019, Canada celebrates its Freedom to Read Week, an event to raise awareness of the attempts of individuals in power to ban, remove or redact books from the public on the basis of perceived vulgarity, conflicting religious or social values. The Manotick Branch put on a display representative of the novel Fahrenheit 451, a dystopian novel in which all books were outlawed and burned. Ironically, the title itself was banned from three schools in the last forty years for 'vulgar passages'. (Source: Bannedlibrary.com)
Recently, the Ottawa Catholic School had attempted to ban the popular graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier from its school libraries because authories felt that a scene depicting two boys sharing a kiss was inappropriate for the intended audience, aged 7 - 12 years. After a public outcry, they have quickly reversed that decision. For a summary of the story, click on the link for CBC news here.
This week serves to warn citizens that even today, we need to be alert to attempts by authorities (well-meaning or otherwise) to excise literary works that challenge our way of thinking, whether we agree to it or argue against it.