“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular,” as stated on the American Library’s Association (ALA)’s website.
Here is the list of the top 10 most challenged and banned books of 2020 and the reasons cited for censoring the books:
George by Alex Gino Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message
To celebrate this week, add some of these books to reading your list! As the theme of this week says, “Books unite us. Censorship divides us.”
Happy 131st anniversary to Sequoia National Park! On this day, President Harrison signed legislation creating America’s second national park. It was the first national park created to protect the giant sequoia trees from logging.
At this time, the KNP Complex fires are still growing in the national park and the surrounding areas. Lightning caused these two fires back on September 9th. As a result of the fires, the parks evacuated employees from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and the parks are closed to the public.
John Muir reflected that giant sequoia groves are “not like places, they are like haunts.”
To celebrate this anniversary and help the national park at this time, you can make a donation to the Sequoia Parks Conservancy. As stated on their website, donations to this fund will support sequoia conservation, lost habitat restoration, repairs to damaged historic and cultural sites, trail work, and wildfire mitigation efforts.
Park rangers are the key people responsible for protecting our great national parks. Their duties range from law enforcement to education to many other responsibilities. They keep these amazing national parks going every day.
In my new children’s book, Turtle Tube: An Erutuf National Park Novel, Reese and Dean experience park rangers in the magical national park.
Today, you can create and draw your own park ranger. Every park ranger needs a national park with animals and items to use. Find out your location, animal with you, and accessory using this Park Ranger Generator. You can even draw and make your generated park ranger on this pdf.
Click the link below for the pdf or visit the blog’s section, Future Park Rangers Fun, for this pdf and some other fun activities. Have fun!
Happy 100th birthday to Park Ranger Betty Reid Soskin!
Ranger Soskin works with the National Park Service (NPS) assigned to the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, California. She is the oldest National Park Ranger serving the United States and celebrating her birthday today!
According to the NPS, some of Betty’s other numerous accomplishments and accolades include:
In 1995, Betty was named “Woman of the Year” by the California State Legislature.
In 2005, she was named one of the nation’s ten outstanding women “Builders of communities and dreams” by the National Women’s History Project at ceremonies in both Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
In 2016, Betty received the Silver Medallion Award at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. There are only two women among 30 past recipients, the other is Elizabeth Dole. Later that year Betty received the Sierra Club’s prestigious Trailblazer Award, for a lifetime of service and barrier-breaking. A few weeks later, she attended the grand opening ceremony of the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture, as Interior Secretary Jewell’s guest.
In 2018, Betty was an honoree at the Makers Conference in Hollywood where feminists from across the nation gather annually to recognize “Makers.” Later that year she published her book, Sign My Name to Freedom, based on the blog she had been writing for the previous 10 years. The book recounts her experiences from childhood to the present.
In early 2019 a film produced by the Rosie the Riveter Trust, “No Time To Waste: The Urgent Mission of Betty Reid Soskin” was released. This documentary tells the story of her involvement with Rosie the Riveter/WWII Home Front National Historic Park and the influence she has had on the NPS in telling untold stories, and in sharing her history in ways that inspire and challenge current social norms.
To celebrate her birthday and contributions, enjoy this video abut her reflections. Click here to see the video.
On this day 57 years ago, Congress established the Wilderness Act in 1964. Congress wanted to protect undeveloped and wild areas as an enduring resource for the American people. Today, this act protects 111 million acres of wilderness preserving more than 800 wilderness areas in states from Alaska to Florida.
This act created the National Wilderness Preservation System (NWPS) and immediately designated 54 areas into this system. Some of the first wilderness areas created included Bridger Wilderness in Wyoming, Ansel Adams Wilderness in California, and Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. Today, the National Park Service makes up about 56% of the land under NWPS with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and Bureau of Land Management areas making up the rest.
Many benefits exist today from this land conservation including providing habitats for wildlife; clean air; clean drinking water; boosting local economies with tourism and recreation; and providing some really amazing places to escape and appreciate this great land here!
Fun fact: The largest wilderness area in the National Wilderness Preservation System is the Wrangell-St. Elias Wilderness, protecting more than nine million acres of Alaskan tundra and boreal forest.
Enjoy this anniversary and get out in the wilderness today!