Appalachian celebrates Banned Books Week

Michael Bragg

This week, the university celebrated Banned Books Week, which seeks to make students aware of the issue of censorship.

Many challenged and banned books are some that are considered classics.

“The Great Gatsby,” “The Color Purple,” “The Lord of the Flies” and “Of Mice of Men” are just some of the big names in literature that have been either banned or challenged.

“I feel like we don’t do enough to celebrate these books that do have a profound effect on who we are as a culture,” senior secondary education major Angelo Donatelli said. 

As a future educator, Donatelli said he will have to deal with issues of censorship firsthand.

“I would not be the same person I am if I without reading some of those books in high school that were considered banned,” Donatelli said.

The week was highlighted by a virtual lecture with frequently challenged authors, Chris Crutcher and Lauren Myracle in the Carole Grotnes Belk Library and Information Commons.

Crutcher has written many works of fiction, including “Angry Management” and “Dealine,” which have been challenged or banned at some point. He is considered the most frequently banned author.

Aside from being an author, he is also a therapist. Crutcher’s knowledge of sensitive issues is in his writing and conveys perspectives that some readers find inappropriate. These experiences heavily influence his writing.

“One of the things that started to move me in the world of storytelling was that I was hearing so many secrets and the secrets were poisonous; they were the things that were keeping people safe,” Crutcher said.

Myracle, author of “ttyl,” has also experienced censorship during her career as a writer. She was the most banned author of 2009 and 2011.

“If you don’t take a risk, and if you don’t dig deep, and if you don’t try to cheer whatever truth you’re after, then you’re playing games and you’re not really writing,” Myracle said.

Both authors focused on the issue of censorship in their careers. They see the obstacles that they’ve faced as advantages and as an affirmation of their success.

Geri Purpur, the distance education librarian at Appalachian, has been in charge of organizing the events surrounding Banned Books Week.

As a librarian, she sees the topic of censorship as a very important issue — even today.

“I think that it’s important to support the freedom to read and the freedom to express different viewpoints and also the freedom to choose to read about different viewpoints,” Purpur said.

Books are banned for many different reasons, but mostly to protect young readers from sensitive issues. For this reason, many of the books banned are children’s literature.

“And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, a book about two male penguins who want to have a baby, was banned in many schools and libraries and was the most challenged book from 2006 to 2010 and second most challenged in 2009, according to

“A Light in the Attic” by poet Shel Silverstien was challenged by a Wisconsin school in 1986 on the grounds that it “glorified Satan, suicide and cannibalism and also encouraged children to be disobedient,” according to

Story: CONNOR CHILDERS, A&E Reporter