Thursday, October 4, 2012

Read Any Good Banned Books Lately?

Surely, you've read The Hunger Games (okay, maybe you saw the movie).  Or maybe, if you are expecting another baby, you read My Mom's Having a Baby to your kid.  Or you've felt nostalgic and read To Kill a Mockingbird (it's on my list to revisit).  These popular titles are among the Top Ten Challenged Books of 2011; there were 326 challenges in all, according to Banned Books Week.

Even if you don't like these, don't I have the right to choose to read them?

Apparently, books can be challenged for a number of reasons.  From stats gathered by the folks in charge of collecting this data, the most popular reasons are "sexually explicit", "offensive language", "unsuited to age group", and "violence".  I have to admit - these are all good reasons not to let a kid read a book.  Which brings me to the next interesting stat, the people who are predominant in initiating these challenges are parents.  Yes, maybe that makes sense, because who else would care as much?

But here's the thing.  If you are a parent and you feel a book is inappropriate for your kid - don't let your kid read it.  Why does every kid in the country not get to read Beloved because a handful of parents don't like it?  I don't want my kids to read anything from the Twilight series.  Do any of those popular reasons I mentioned previously apply to this popular teen series?  I don't know about the others, but, in my mind "unsuited to age group" does.  Plus the fact that I don't like vampires.  So, guess what - I tell my kids not to read it and I don't give them the $14.95 or the nook password to buy it.  It is essentially, banned in our house.  But I fully believe that if other parents want their kids reading about vampire kids romancing each other and biting each other's neck and turning into werewolves or whatever it is they do - they have the right to allow that in their house.

I let my oldest read The Hunger Games (I only got half-way through because she had already dragged me to the movie and I'm really bad at finishing a book that I already know the ending).  But my second daughter, two years younger, I told her she couldn't read it and she couldn't watch the movie.  Because I know it will either freak her out or make her want to take archery lessons - neither is a good option.  

That's my role as a parent - to figure out what's allowed and not allowed for my kids.  Then other parents can figure out what's allowed and not allowed for their kids.  That's why there are so many books at the library!  

My position on parenting your own kids can also be extended to folks who challenge Happy Meals and potato chips and large sodas, but that's for another day.  Banned Salty, Sugary Food Week perhaps.  Anyway.

Happy reading - whatever you're reading!

Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association.
*You can read more about the First Amendment, Intellectual Freedom and Banned Books on the American Library Associations website, here.

1 comment:

c.marie said...
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