Thursday, September 27, 2012

Banned Books Week

It's that time of year again. The last week of September each year is dedicated to the awareness and discussion of banned books in schools, libraries, everywhere.
I can't remember if I've posted anything on the subject before, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to talk about it again.
So a few years ago, I was taking a small four week writing class at my little home school and one of the subjects we were given to write about was Banned Book Week. It was the first time I'd ever heard of the subject. And it fascinated me. That there were people out there who wanted to stop the circulation of some books I hold very dear to my heart, like Harry Potter and To Kill A Mockingbird. And the I met people who actually wanted to censor books. At my church, at my school, everywhere. I'm not talking about parents not letting their kid read a book; that's fine. But people who were for the censorship of books. I'd even  heard a story about someone who had to read a banned book for summer reading at school and failed all the work on it because their mom wouldn't let them read it!
I find stuff like this appalling. Not to sound like your grandpa, but book bannning doesn't hold up to American values, or even just the basics of being a good human being.

I'm one to talk though. If I'm reading or watching something that makes me uncomfortable, I stop, and because of that, my parents don't have to keep a very tight leash on what I do. Even if something does make me slightly uncomfortable, I'll talk to them about it. And my mom does read a lot of the books I do. We've both really enjoyed Markus Zusak's Book Theif, The Hunger Games, Veronica Roth's Divergent novels, so on so forth. Other kids don't work like that.

I'm not saying that we should put Fifty Shades of Grey in a seven year old's hands. I'm just calling for a bit of reason.

So here's what I, along with thousands of others, believe about book censorship: It depends on  your kid. One fourteen year old could handle The Hunger Games or Laurie Halse Anderson's much challenged Speak. Another may not. It all depends on the level of maturity your on. There are probably grown adults who couldn't handle Speak or something like The Perks of Being A Wallflower. But never under any condition would I listen to someone who told  me that Harry Potter is inappropriate, or that I shouldn't read Twlight (although I'm not doing that again). It's mine and my parent's choices, not yours.



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