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Editorial: Stand up for intellectual freedoms

"The Lord of the Flies," by William Golding.

"1984," by George Orwell.

"Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger.

"The Color Purple," by Alice Walker.

"The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

"Of Mice and Men," by John Steinbeck.

"The Sun Also Rises," by Ernest Hemingway

"Gone with the Wind," by Margaret Mitchell.

"The Call of the Wild," by Jack London.

The list seems like "must-reads" for a literature class and a personal bucket list. In fact, these books share another distinction: They have been challenged and sometimes actually banned — some from specific U.S. school districts and others from entire countries.

In this 21st century world in which writers — including reporters — are continually under attack for telling people's stories, the 2018 theme for Banned Books Week seems especially broad and meaningful: "Banning Books Silences Stories."

In fact, the content of some books results in challenges every year to remove them from the shelves. Librarians, teachers, students and parents have to push back to ensure intellectual freedom, i.e. to stop a person or group who doesn't like a writer's viewpoint or portrayal of a character and thereby wants to restrict your access to that story.

Banned Books Week runs Sept. 23-29, 2018. As attacks escalate on people's rights to read and write and engage in meaningful discourse, the celebration of reading and the commitment to our freedoms are more important than ever.

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