For Banned Books Week 2012, the Lawrence Public Library in Kansas has created a special series of trading cards of banned books, illustrated by local artists. Each card would be handed out at the library on one of the days of Banned Books Week 2012, which ends tomorrow.

And the results are simply stunning. Susan Brown, marketing director at the library, says that this was "an idea that's been cooking in my head for a few years. Thanks to the Freedom to Read Foundation and their Judith F. Krug Memorial Grant, we got to do it!

"Two areas often under the eye of censors are visual arts and literature. We thought that this project would be a great way to bring the two together."

When asked via email if books had been challenged at the Lawrence Library, she replied that "we don't get many challenges to books here - I've been here three years or so and can't remember one. But there have been plenty of challenges to books around Kansas and Missouri."

Due to popular demand, the cards are now on sale for $7 plus postage on the library's website.

Click below to see the cards - including an exclusive reveal of tomorrow's final image!

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  • Animal Farm by George Orwell

    When I was in first grade, my class was shown the animated film of this classic book. I’m sure none of us understood all of the symbolism and metaphors in the story, but the viewing left a lasting impression on me. I have since read the book a few times and consider it one of my all-time favorites. My painting depicts a flat graphic pig hoof hovering over the roof of a barn. It represents the pigs’ ominous ruling power over the rest of the animals on the farm. - Barry Fitzgerald

  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

    Title: “Poo-tee-weet?” Artist: Kent Smith Medium: Mixed media This piece is a response to Kurt Vonnegut’s book "Slaughterhouse Five," a book that has been challenged or banned for various reasons throughout its existence. By allowing the “Poo-tee-weet” birds a ride on one of the Dresden bombs, we are given a visual to Vonnegut’s juxtaposition of serious and fatalistic subject matter with the satirical and the absurd. The image is both violent and humorous. “So it goes.” Lacking Tralfamadorian four-dimensional vision, I chose the use of mixed media to connect the artwork to various points in history simultaneously. Pencils, watercolor, and other traditional media, give us a foundation in the past. The use of digital tools such as the computer, scanners and photography give us a view of the future. The overlap that occurs in the use of this mixed media allows the viewer to simultaneously see events past, present and future, all of which are connected to the original source of Vonnegut’s novel. Listen for the bird’s chirping. They continue to ask, “Poo-tee-weet?”

  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike

    Burning and otherwise destroying books being a favorite activity of censors, deconstruction seemed an appropriate approach to this tattered (literally falling apart as I read it) copy of "Rabbit, Run". Coincidentally, this book was purchased at the Friends of the Lawrence Public Library book sale. - Webmocker

  • The Call of the Wild

    This book is often misclassified as a children's book because of the main character, Buck, is a dog. "The Call of the Wild" visits many mature concepts and has vivid scenes of violence and cruelty that may not be suitable for children. - Heather Martin

  • On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin

    Though the publication has only been banned periodically, the central themes and idea still remain highly contests and controversial. At El Dorado High School, I personally experienced, first-hand, attempts by the School Board to censor teachings of Darwin’s theories. Inspired by the pursuit of intellectual curiosity, and a defiant science teacher, I went on to earn a degree from KU in Environmental Science. I dedicate this piece to Trey Harrison and all others who are willing to defy censorship. - Ashton Martin

  • Little Red Riding Hood

    Little Red Riding Hood has often been banned or challenged because Little Red carries a bottle of wine in her basket, along with bread and butter, to her Grandmother’s house. Many adults believe this behavior encourages childhood drinking. I’ve imagined my own version of the ending, after Little Red has gone safely back home. Grandmother and Woodsman are quite frankly glad to have a glass of wine. It had been a long day! After all, the Woodsman had found himself in a nightmare situation: he’d opened the door to Grandmother’s house and sliced open the wolf to find Grandmother and Little Red were inside and alive. I’d want a drink after all that, too! - Lindsey Yankey

  • 1984 by George Orwell

    This piece reflects the vibe I get from George Orwell’s 1984. When I last reread 1984 in 2004, I was struck by how similar the descriptions were to happenings in the world today. Not just by how many of the party phrases in the book sounded eerily similar to sound bites coming out of the Bush administration, but also Orwell’s descriptions of cubicle-filled workplaces and rundown infrastructure. - Dale Martin


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