Banned Books Week

Happy Banned Books Week!  Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year again when the American Library Association protests the banning of books from libraries and schools.  Join in the festivities, which started on the 25th and runs through Saturday.  That’s right, it’s actually Banned Books Week And A Day this year because we can’t protest the morality being forced on literature in just one week.

Personally, I’m against banning and restricting access to books… in most cases.  That being said, I don’t think Sex by Madonna needs to be in any high school library.  I believe that there is a place for Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov in the library, but it definitely does not belong in the children’s section.  There are many, many books that I would never read, but that doesn’t mean I don’t think others shouldn’t be able to read them.  Just about everything should be offered for reading if it exists.  (That sounds a little Google-y, but I stand by it.)

The real question is, where should the line be drawn when it comes to age-appropriateness.  The Hobbit is too violent for my 10-year old, but it’s fine for yours.  1984 has sex.  Of Mice And Men has cursing.  Harry Potter has witchcraft.  There are books in the romance section with all of those!  Should a 7th Grader be reading those romance novels.  The answer is obviously no, otherwise the middle school library would have its own romance section instead of the Judy Bloom section.  (On a side note, why is it that since the 1984 comment, I can’t stop typing “sextion” by accident?) 

That’s the reason why I say that books should not be banned or restricted in most cases.  No elementary school kid should see Playboy Magazine on the newspaper and magazine rack in the school library.  The poor girls are already getting distorted ideas about body image from the television and Katy Perry without having to see the full monty!  Obviously censorship is needed in cases of the youth of the country.  Very few would disagree with that – and those would be the same ones trying to take their 6-year olds to see Saw 3D at midnight on Halloween night.  The difficult issue is how to accurately, fairly and respectfully decide what books we permit our young people to read without our specific knowledge, and that’s an issue I don’t have any answers on.

While I try to figure that out, feel free to protest at your local public library if they don’t have Animal Farm in the catalogue, because everyone should read Animal Farm, although perhaps not in kindergarten.

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4 Comments on “Banned Books Week”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    You have a ten year old?

    Wow. I don’t know how I missed that.

    I thought Tiger Eyes was a very disturbing book though I really loved Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Freckle Juice.

    Some people have an issue with Junie B. Jones because the grammar isn’t always correct and she’s a naughty girl at times but she’s funny and my kids and I both love her books.

    My mama always said I could read whatever I wanted as long as I read except I do remember her picking up Peyton Place and telling me I might want to wait until I’m older but she didn’t forbid me, and she didn’t even take it out of my room where it had been on the shelf in the bookcase there. I think she also did that with Ellen Foster. I still haven’t read either of those books. I’m probably old enough now. Her not taking it away and giving me the power to choose though she did express her opinion of waiting, well, I think that was very significant in my life. A lot of things she didn’t give me a choice about, but in that she did.

    Hmm. Maybe I’ve got a blog subject here as well.

    So, I’d like to meet your kid some time. Bring the child by.

    Does your mom know?

    • Andrew Says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever read any of those books, but feel free to steal whatever you want for your blog! As far as my kid goes, we keep him locked up in the basement because he’s a very naughty boy.

  2. Newt Says:

    What’s wrong with taking your 6-year-old to a horror flick? We took Gwen to Halloween 2. (And Fred covered her eyes during the nudity, because… I guess because he’s her daddy.) She also enjoyed My Bloody Valentine in 3D. Heck, I saw the Exorcist when I was her age. I read my first Stephen King book (Pet Sematary) when I was 7.

    • Andrew Says:

      Newt, your family is the exception. Gwen is precocious based on what I’ve read about her and you’re… well… you’re Newt. I actually had a specific couple in mind with the Saw 3D statement although the movie was one of the earlier Saw movies, and the child was far from being a White.
      I was probably about that age when I first saw The Exorcist, too, although I’m not sure I should be an exception to that rule. That was more an issue of too many boys and forgetting about the one being quiet, and I’m sure I wasn’t ready to see that movie yet.
      On a side note, did Fred also cover her eyes during the nude scene in My Bloody Valentine? If so, I feel sorry for her because that was about a quarter of the movie and had probably the best death in the whole thing.


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