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As the slogans of decades earlier were so eager to tell us, “comics aren’t for kids anymore.” To some these days, comics aren’t for kids at all, with titles including the criticially-acclaimed Fun Home and Persepolis being the subject of debate over whether or not they are suitable material for schools.
Spotlighting this ongoing debate, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced Wednesday that this year’s annual Banned Books Week will focus on comics and graphic novels, celebrating the value of what is described in the official announcement as a “still misunderstood form of storytelling.”
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Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to what was seen as a growing number of complaints and challenges to particular books being available in schools, libraries and bookstores. The annual event, traditionally held in the final week of September each year, is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Library Association and National Coalition Against Censorship in addition to many other organizations.
Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, said in a statement that graphic novels and comic books had been chosen as the focus for this year’s event “because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship.”
“It’s shocking that books are still banned and challenged,” added CBLDF executive director Charles Brownstein. “Comics are especially vulnerable to those challenges. With this year’s Banned Books Week focus, we welcome the opportunity to engage the public in a vital dialogue about intellectual freedom and the powerful role comics serve.”
This week’s Banned Books Week will take place from September 21 through September 27, with events taking place in numerous locations. More information can be found at the official event website.
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