Young Readers protest banned books with “Read-Out!” at Takoma Park Library

On Saturday October 2, the last day of National Banned Books Week, Takoma Park city library staged a Community Read Out that focused on children’s books. Children’s Librarian Karen MacPherson pointed out in her opening remarks that these picture books and novels for kids through age 13 have been challenged by people in “other” places – not in Takoma Park.
Children in the audience carried signs depicting banned books as part of the display coordinated by librarian, Rebecca Brown, and student, Camden Roberts.

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Alanna Natanson, the student who first suggested forming a Banned Book Club for middle school and high school students, led off by reading from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (depicts a world that contains magic and witchcraft). More than 20 readers–adults and students — followed, reading from such books as Harriet the Spy (contains cursing and back talk by a child), The Phantom Tollbooth (a poor fantasy), and And Tango Makes Three (implies homosexuality).

With the help of Dave Burbank, who projected the illustrations on the new auditorium wall monitors, the audience of more than 100 could appreciate picture books like Where the Sidewalk Ends (encourages disobedience), Hansel and Gretel (ok to kill witches) and Little Red Riding Hood (bottle of wine depicted on cover).

Thanks to a $1000 grant, one of seven given nationwide by the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Foundation, everyone went home with a free copy of a frequently challenged book.

Afterward, everyone gathered for a pizza lunch courtesy of the Friends of the Library. 

(photo By Michele Morgan)

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