Sunday, September 25, 2011
Banned Book Week September 24-October 1
Banned Books Week celebrates the right to have the freedom to read what we want, along with the value of freedom of speech found in the First Amendment. It brings attention to the harm of banning books by spotlighting censored books from across the country.
I am going to approach my post about banned books from the stand point of a mom (shocking, I know). I believe every parent has the right to decide what their own children read. Note, I said their own children. Just like every child is unique, every parent is unique. Just because someone does not like a book or believes that it is not appropriate for their child, does not mean I feel the same way. No one has the right to tell me how to parent my child, and that means no one has the right to tell me what my child can read. A parent who attempts to ban books is essentially telling me, and every other parent, that they know better than we do what is best for our children.
I strongly believe that books can provide a pathway to open and honest conversation between parents and children. Yes, there are books with "questionable" material--sex, drugs, violence, abuse, incest, and a million other things that could be considered inappropriate for children. But these things exist in our world, whether we like it or not, and whether we like it or not, our children may someday face these issues in their lives. I would rather my child has been able to have an open and honest conversation about any of these things, than face them without out any foreknowledge of whatever it may be. I would like those conversations to be with me or their father. This is in large part why I read the books they read. So I can have that open and honest conversation with them. No one has the right to take that away from me. And when books are banned, then that right is taken from me. I know that these parents who push to ban books because of their content, have their child's best interests in mind, but more often than not, they have not even read the entire book and they are being prejudicial and close-minded. I am not that parent. I will never try to take away someone's right to read, and I will fight to protect other's right to read.
Now excuse me, I am going to go read my favorite banned book, Twilight (a Top Ten Challenged Book in 2009 and 2010). Then I think I'll pick up Harry Potter (2001, 2002 and 2003).