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“Banned” Author in Minnesota To Mark “Banned Book Week”

October 5, 2007

St. Paul, MN – This is "Banned Books Week," and the author of one of the most frequently banned books in U.S. schools and libraries is in Minnesota, to talk about people's "freedom to read."

Robie Harris wrote "It's Perfectly Normal," which deals with teen sexuality. According to the American Library Association, it is one of the books challenged most often for its content. Harris says it's important that everyone, whatever their view, has the chance to express themselves.

"We have the freedom to choose how we're going to live our lives, and the freedom to figure out how we're going to educate our kids. And, if we start having groups take away those decisions because they believe their way is the best, then I believe we're no longer a democracy."

Harris hopes her books encourage parents and kids to have conservations about sexual health. She feels strongly that government should not prohibit the expression of ideas, even if some find them offensive or disagreeable. She knows sex is a controversial topic, but believes teens need information about sexuality, and that books are a good source.

"Our kids and teens have the right to have the most accurate, up-to-date and honest information about their bodies -- about how they work, how they change, and how to stay healthy as they go through puberty and adolescence."

"Banned Books Week" is an annual event promoted by the American Library Association to highlight literary freedom. Other books on this year's list include "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Where the Wild Things Are," and "Where’s Waldo?" Previous entries include the Bible and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." The ALA reports books are usually challenged in libraries and schools because of sexual content.

Learn more about the "Banned Books" list online, at www.ala.org.

Jim Wishner/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - MN