Freedom to Read Week

Challenged Books

It’s currently Freedom to Read Week in Canada. Taking place this year between February 26th and March 4th, it’s “an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about and reaffirm their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed them under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

There are over one hundred publications that have been challenged in Canada. Each challenge attempted to limit public access in schools, libraries or bookstores.

Some of the challenged books we currently carry are:

  • Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro: In 1976, the challenger, a principal, “’questioned its suitability’ because of the explicit language and descriptions of sex scenes.”
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: In 1994, the challenger sought to remove profane, irreligious books from Alberta’s schools. He cited this book as an example.
  • When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid: In 2014, this book won the 2014 Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature. The challenger called this a “values-void novel”. An online petition was launched to revoke the book’s award, citing the book’s “offensive” and “inappropriate” content.
  • To Kill a Mockinbird by Harper Lee: In 1991, the challenger sought to remove this book and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain from school reading lists because they “disliked the portrayal of racial minorities in both novels.”
  • The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz by Mordecai Richler: In 1990, this book was challenged due to “vulgarity, sexual expressions and sexual innuendoes” in the text.
  • Such Is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan: In 1972, the challengers objected to the novel’s depiction of prostitution and the use of “strong language.”

We encourage fREADom.