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Freedom to Read Week: Must-read challenged books

Literary freedom should not be a privilege for a few. In Canada and around the world authors' works are being kept from readers, hindering people's freedom to read. We live in a time when uniformed police officers can and do enter local libraries in search of books that have been banned. If found, these books are seized on the spot and charges can be laid for displaying challenged books. We also live in a place where Canada Customs officials have the power to turn back "questionable" book shipments from publishers outside of Canada.

What follows is a list of some of the books that have been challenged in Canada. To celebrate Freedom to Read Week, pick one up today as a protest to literary censorship.

Noir Canada: Pillage, Corruption et Criminalité en Afrique by Alain Deneault with Delphine Abadie and William Sacher

In an attempt to silence criticism, the Barrick Gold Corporation and Banro Corporation sued the authors and publisher of this French book for libel, claiming the book misrepresents mining in Africa.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

This eerie near-future look at women's loss of reproductive freedom has been challenged in schools due to use of profane language, anti-Christian overtones, depictions of violence and sexual degradation.

Forbidden Passages: Writings Banned in Canada edited by Pat Califia and Janine Fuller

This collection of excerpts from books banned from Canada was turned down by Canadian publishers out of fear of reprisals from Canada Customs and ended up being published in the U.S.

Women on Top

Women on Top by Nancy Friday

This book about women's sexual fantasies was the subject of police library raids in both B.C. and Manitoba. Charges were threatened against libraries and bookstores who refused to remove the book.

Black Looks: Race and Representation by bell hooks

Designated as possible hate literature, Canada Customs turned back the initial shipment of this book, which examines the representations of race.

Maxine's Tree by Diane Leger

This children's book depicts a young girl's quest to protect the Carmanah Valley from logging. This book has been challenged because it is believed to indoctrinate children to an anti-logging extremist viewpoint.

The Diviners by Margaret Laurence

Due to objectionable language and sexual content, this story about a young prairie woman's search for love was challenged and dropped from several school reading lists.

These are but a few examples of books that have been challenged in Canada. Visit this extensive list of challenged books and magazines and let us know which ones you have read and recommend to other rabble readers.

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