So, for those of you that read my last post, or know about this in some other way, we are about halfway through Banned Book Week! I hope some of you are participating so we can celebrate our literary independence. No, I won’t tell you what I’m reading, but I hope to finish it and review it by the end of the week. So what is this post about, you ask? Well, this is just for me to ramble on about this event and censorship and books and “boring” stuff like that. This is to hopefully get some people thinking about banning books and whether it’s right or wrong. Sorry, in advance, if I turn your world upside down. Anyway…
Books all over the U. S. A. have been banned or challenged. Some are Paint Me Like I Am, Whale Talk, and even the legendary Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Some for potentially offensive language, some for inappropriate material, one book simply for what a parent deemed an inappropriate title. Do we think this is right? Do we think books should be banned from entire school systems because they broach “dangerous” issues? Hmm.
Banning a book is when school officials or parents decide they don’t want a certain work to reside in their school library, and have it removed for good. Banning a book is very different from your mom telling you a certain read is too old for you, and asking you to wait a little. Banning a book is like silencing an author’s voice and not wanting it to ever be read. Many of these victim books have been challenged because parents want to protect their children from rather grown up material. When my parents tell me they’d like me to wait a little while before reading something, I’ll respect that. But sometimes a book is a way for a person to speak, and get to tell the stories they think are important enough to be told. Something I always hear about our country is that people have the right to free speech in it. Does a book count as free speech? Does banning one add up to not allowing someone to speak out? These are questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe you should ask yourself that, too.
Eventually, all kids are going to go out into the world and be confronted with the type of material in some of these books, so how long can you really protect them? It’s true, of course, that some parents may think that their child is not ready, just yet. That’s just fine. Even I, as a twelve year old, will admit that we kids don’t always know what’s best for us. Sorry, guys, but you have to say, sometimes the adults are right. Still, I won’t ever think that getting rid of books completely from a school, or a library, or anywhere, is okay. People have the right to be offended, get angry, or want to shelter their children because of a book. But I, for one, don’t believe that doing something as extreme as banning the book is right. So let’s celebrate Banned Book Week!