How Brightly, Signature and Unbound Worlds Celebrate #BannedBooksWeek

To mark, celebrate and note the importance of Banned Books Week (September 24 – 30), three of Penguin Random House’s corporate verticals – Brightly, Signature, and Unbound Worlds – feature articles that highlight the ways in which banned books can immeasurably influence, shape and impact our lives.  

In the Brightly article, 12 Authors on the Banned Books They’ll Never Forget, Brightly editors asked a range of Penguin Random House writers, including Andrew Clements, Danielle Younge-Ullman, Kate Shatz and Peter Brown Hoffmeister, to share and discuss the banned or challenged book that made a lasting impact on them as young people. Hoffmeister said, “When Toni Morrison published her first novel, THE BLUEST EYE, she knew she was writing something different, and right from the beginning of my first reading, that difference was apparent. I was a young, hopeful writer and I was reading widely — attempting to learn from the greats — when I came across Morrison’s Dick-and-Jane primer material at the start of the seasonal chapters. Slowly, the Dick-and-Jane paragraphs transformed and I thought, ‘This, this is what a book can do.’ To read the complete Brightly article and learn what books other authors picked and why, click here.   In his Signature article, 16 Quotes from Great Authors for Banned Books Week, Tom Blunt wrote, it’s important to remember what we do when we censor: we not only restrict the freedoms of the present, we commit violence against the freedoms of the past.”  Blunt collected “quotes by authors reaching out from the past, in hopes of inspiring us to speak and read freely, confronting our own prejudices as well as others.” Here are three author quotes: Judy Blume, in a speech for Virtual Read Out, 2011: “Censors never go after books unless kids already like them. I don’t even think they know to go after books until they know that children are interested in reading this book, therefore there must be something in it that’s wrong.” Robert A. HeinleinTIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE: “A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.” Henry Louis Gates, Jr: “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” To see more author quotes and read the complete Signature article, click here.   In his Unbound Worlds article, The 3 Banned Books That Have Immeasurably Shaped My Life, Shawn Speakman discusses Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, The Qu’ran, and Philip Pullman’s THE GOLDEN COMPASS.  Speakman writes, “The attempted suppression of thought by some religious leaders is the key to how THE GOLDEN COMPASS shaped my life. Just like with the Quran, I saw Fahrenheit 451 all over again, but it wasn’t one religion trying to outlaw another religion. It was a religion trying to censor not only creativity but carefully-wrought criticism. I saw it all come together then. In their imagined protection of others, book banners crack open a door that could easily lead to Guy Montag’s world. There are, of course, many different groups who attempt to ban books. Their reasons are as varied as they are. Religious extremism and the anti-intellectualism that often precludes it is my proverbial cross to bear in my own writing, so to speak. What is yours?” To read Speakman’s complete Unbound Worlds article, click here. Click here to enter for your chance to win a personalized Banned Books Box filled with ten of your favorite books and a special banned books mug courtesy of Out of Print Clothing (No purchase necessary. US residents, 18+. Ends 9/30/17. See Official Rules.) Also during Banned  Books Week, head over to Out of Print Clothing to find out how you can contribute to hurricane relief efforts through book donations from Penguin Random House. For each piece of Banned Books merchandise sold on the Out of Print website during Banned Books Week, September 24 – 30, Penguin Random House will donate one book in support of hurricane relief efforts through First Book up to 10,000 books. Click here to start browsing and give back.