Lawrence Public Library Releases Banned Books Trading Cards

Sep 19, 2014

The Lawrence Public Library on Thursday revealed this year's set of banned books trading cards.

It marks the third time the Kansas library has celebrated Banned Books Week by highlighting shunned classics and contemporary works with a set of trading cards. 

There are seven cards in a deck designed by Lawrence artists; each depicts imagery from books that have faced censorship. Selections include Harriet the SpyLittle Red Riding Hood, Lord of the Flies, Maus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Old Man and the Sea, and To Kill a Mockingbird. 

"We've had everyone from a 5-year-old up to an 80-year-old participate in this," says marketing coordinator Jeni Daley. "The idea is that people of all ages have been censored from different books, but we want to really celebrate the freedom to read through this project."

Nearly 40 Lawrence artists submitted designs for children's stories such as Where the Wild Things Are, young adult novels like The Giver, and classics as The Great Gatsby. The winners, selected by a panel of judges, include: Scott Burr, Lana Grover, Lora Jost, Eleanor Matheis, Clayton Rohlman, Katie Whiteman, and Key 7 Studio/Gwen Kerth.

Daley says the panelists, from the Lawrence Arts Center and the library, selected artists based on their originality, and by asking these questions: "Is it an original piece of art, does it correlate to some of the themes in the book, is it interesting, is it unique?"

Over the last decade, more than 5,000 challenges — due to offensive language, violence, sex, or homosexuality — were reported in classrooms, as well as school and public libraries. The American Library Association, or ALA, defines a challenge as a "formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed."

During Banned Books Week, starting Sept. 21, the Lawrence Public Library will distribute one banned books trading card each day. The first card: Little Red Riding Hood, a book that's been pulled from shelves for its depiction of childhood drinking. In artist Lana Grove's illustration, the grandmother is visible in the belly of the wolf, "with the horror and the humor that makes the story stick in a child's mind."

The full set of banned books trading cards is available at the Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St., Lawrence, Kan., through Sept. 27. Cards also will be available for purchase on the library's website