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The Judges Have Spoken!

What do The Lorax and Fahrenheit 451 have in common? Both were the subject of the winning essays in our Banned Books Week contest – The Lorax, in the teen category and Ray Bradbury’s classic in the adult. Our panel of four local authors determined which submissions best answered this question- ‘What makes this book so powerful that people want to ban it?’ Each winner received a ‘Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us’ mug (filled with candy courtesy of our Teen Librarian, Kim Larsen). Click on Read more to see the winning entries.

We would like to thank our panel, Reed Bonadonna, Jaqueline Plumez, Rob Sharenow and Todd Strasser, for their time and diligence. If you want to learn more about Banned Books Week, check out the event’s web page. And now, here are the winning pieces:

Teen and under

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Many people say they know the common creed of public libraries, let people pick out any book. Sounds wonderful, right? Today most libraries allow any book to be lent out. But,even now,certain libraries prohibit types of text, which is called book banning. The popular children’s book, The Lorax, fell victim to this terrible practice. Dr. Seuss, wrote the Lorax in the 1900s. Back then, you wouldn’t see “SaveThePlanet” posters. There simply was no major craze to help the environment. If you ever read the Lorax, you can tell it clearly refers to the deforestation sweeping the globe. Today most lumberjacks, try to put a new sapling in the cut tree’s place. Back then loggers cut multiple trees, without replanting a single one! A family that owned a logging company tried to get The Lorax, banned from Laytonville elementary. Loggers see nothing wrong with what they do, and called the book out for being “antilogging” Just because they have a different opinion, doesn’t mean they should take literature away. It’s been proven throughout history, the smallest things make the biggest differences.If anyone is trying to take down a book you love, do your best to prevent that book from being banned.

Adult

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

To see Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 atop the banned books list is a moment of pure irony; a rare instance where a novel’s thematic concerns are mirrored almost perfectly in the “real world,” granting them an uncanny potency.  To ask what makes Fahrenheit 451 so powerful that it is banned is essentially to ask what makes books so powerful that they are banned.  A question that Guy Montag himself asks when he witnesses in horror and fascination the old women set herself ablaze rather than live a life without her books. “There must be something in books,” he tells his wife, his mind whirling for perhaps the first time in his life. “Things we can’t imagine,” he continues.  In this scene, Bradbury hits on the essential nature of a book– it depicts a world that cannot be imagined until it is written.  As individual readers enter this new world, bringing their own thoughts and experiences with them, infinitely more worlds are created.  These literary sparks, whether the deeply emotional or the intellectually profound, carry with them the inherent power to challenge a reader’s perspective.  It is this power that make books so loved and also (by some) so feared.