Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Banned Books Week

We are into Banned Books Week this week.  As I've mentioned in previous posts, this is the week I celebrate my freedom to write, buy, read, and discuss whatever my little heart desires.  This year I thought I would list some of my favorite books that were at one point banned for some reason or another.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
I understand the instinct to want to ban this book from younger readers, but I felt that after reading this, it is a book most teenagers can personally relate to AND that makes it perfect reading and discussion material.  I feel that if more kids were encouraged to read books like this and then openly discuss them they would feel less alienated and be able to actually talk and deal with issues instead of feeling like they need to hide them all of the time.
Bridge to Terabithia
To me this book, and many other ones on the challenged and banned list is a case of people getting so caught up in the most minor of details that they completely miss the point of the book.  This book had issues for it's supposed profanity (using the term "Oh Lord") and this wasn't even like in the 1800's, this was 1986.  Again I understand parents wanting to keep an eye on what their young children read, but to challenge a book with so many great points to it on the basis of a few phrases that a quick conversation could cover just seems dumb to me.
The Chocolate War
This book is deemed "inappropriate" for several reasons, language, sex, abuse, violence, authority issues and such.  This book has all of this...and again a brutal and realistic look of how teenage life really is.  When books like this get challenged I almost want to laugh, because what do these adults think kids live on a regular basis?  This book and others like do nothing more then put it in written form and to ban a book just because it makes somebody uncomfortable that stuff like this is happening is kind of counter productive.
To Kill A Mockingbird
 I feel that books like this get challenged sometimes because people are uncomfortable about the idea that stuff like this happens in real life.  I also feel that sometimes parents and institutions get a bit overprotective and feel the need to protect kids from the potential harsh realities of life.  I think that by having kids read about this kind of thing, we can use it as a stepping stone to a discussion instead of having them find out unawares with potentially disastrous consequences.
The Golden Compass
I hate this book, I do not get the hype, I think it is scary, traumatizing and I just really don't like it.  It has been on the challenged list for years because of it's supposed "Anti-Christian" overtones.  Guess what?  I don't want it banned or challenged and if my nephews want to read it, I hope they do.  I then hope they discuss is with each other, with their parents, with me, with whomever, and if they don't feel the same way about I do, awesome 'cause that my friends is how we learn and grow as a society.

I do not think that we should take away the rights of parents to keep an eye on what their children read, especially young ones.  I agree that there are books out there that are more appropriate for a mature audience and that not ever book out there is a healthy one.  I do however think that all people need to examine why they want to challenge a book and if there is not a better way to help kids choose and understand appropriate books.  I also believe that as soon as you hit the high school age (give or take, each person is different) that unless there is extenuating circumstances we need to trust that we have raised them well enough to start choosing their own reading materials.  I love that I live in a country where I have this awesome freedom to choose and hope that we never lose it.  Happy Reading Everybody!

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