Law Students Fight Book Censorship on Country Club Plaza

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Each year there are efforts to get kids to read and improve America's literacy rate. However, several groups say kids are getting less to choose from as dozens of books are banned from schools, libraries and bookstores because some believe the books are too offensive.

A group of UMKC law students said that's why it's encouraging people to exercise their right to read. The group is fighting what it calls book censorship.

Friday evening, UMKC law student Cory Kilburn read from Shel Silverstein's "A Light In The Attic." It's a popular book of poetry for children -- but it's been banned from some places. One reason is because critics claims it promotes disrespect. Kilburn read it to a group of people in front of the J.C Nichols fountain on Kansas City's Country Club Plaza on Friday.

"We're out here today, not necessarily because we believe in the certain content of one book or another, but we believe that people should have the choice," said Kilburn.

The group of law students displayed some of the banned books on the Plaza, but with a catch of sorts. You couldn't view the book before reading the reason it was banned. For example, one book was banned for promoting homosexual themes. Lifting the cover reveals was "Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl".

Law student Heath Martin said he belives the label could deny future generations an important perspective of history.

"You get an image of a book that if you actually read the book would have nothing to do with your experience of it," he said.

It's estimated that since 1982, more than 11,000 books have been challenged with critics citing violence, sex, rebellion, and racism. However these UMKC law students said that's not enough to justify telling people what they can't read.

The group's effort comes at the end of National Banned Books Week, running September 30, through October 6.

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