Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Banned Books Week: Pride of Baghdad

Saturday, September 27, 11:30 am

Support Banned Books Week, bring a lunch and learn about the misunderstood history of a commonly censored genre from WCPL librarians and Epic Loot Games & Comics staff. Trivia (with prizes) after the talk. 

Banned Books Week: September 21-27, 2014

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by bringing awareness to censorship and challenged materials. Every year The American Library Association with the national Banned Books Week planning committee selects a theme or genre of books that have been challenged. This year the focus is on the frequently challenged genre of comics and graphic novels. During the week leading up to Banned Books Week and throughout the week itself, we are devoting our Fine Print posts to graphic novels.  We hope to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship and to spread knowledge about graphic novels as a unique form of storytelling.

Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

• Location of key challenge: Various
• Reason challenged: Sexual content

A 2006 graphic novel about a pride of lions that escapes from a Baghdad zoo after it is bombed by American forces.  It follows the lions as they struggle to survive in the burned-out ruins of the city. The tale is based loosely on true events in 2003 Iraq.

Despite making both the American Library Association's Great Graphic Novels for Teens Top Ten in 2007 and Booklist Editors’ Choice: Adult Books for Young AdultsPride of Baghdad has been challenged over and over.  And even though it features four lions as the main characters, it has been challenged for alleged sexually explicit content.

I thought the artwork was gorgeous and the story does contain violence and some sexual content--but it is about non-combatants during wartime.  War is violent and this shows what can happen to innocents during combat.  But it also covers other subjects such as freedom and sacrifice.  I thought it was intelligent, really well done, and it makes you think.

Brian K.Vaughan is the writer behind several award-winning series, including Y: The Last Man, Ex Machina, Saga, and more.  He is from Cleveland, Ohio.

Nico Henrichon is a Canadian writer/artist who has done work for Marvel, DC, and others.  This is his second graphic novel.

For more information:

What is your favorite challenged or banned book?

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