Monday, September 20, 2010

Banned Books Week

 I applaud the American Library Association, American Booksellers Association, and the various other groups that are hosting events like a banned books read out during September 25-October 2 this year. This is important, because some of the books on the so called banned list do not belong on there in my opinion, especially when some of those books were things like Harry Potter, and To Kill A Mockingbird. While I do understand that this is once again parents trying to protect their children from something that isn't age appropriate, the other side of that is these parents are completely over reacting to something rather trivial. The thing is, if your kids don't read it in a book, they'll learn about whatever you find so offensive from something or someone else, be it their friends, a magazine, or even a movie. Children have a wonderful knack for discovering all the things you don't want them to know about. How else did my younger brother Rob learn the f-word? It wasn't from a book. It was from one of our older cousins saying it in front of him (He was a 14 year old boy at the time) and my brother tried out that word as soon as he could because he was 3 and the word sounded just fantastic to him. So of course he tried it out on me, his big sister who was trying to have him get dressed like our grandmother told me I should do so we could do the grocery shopping. Not only was she livid he used the word, she was pretty angry he said it to me and yes, he did get the biggest spanking of his life along with his mouth washed out with soap. The thing is, our cousin said the magic phrase to my brother, "Don't ever say that word, okay?" That is like handing fireworks to a kid. As soon as he said that, Rob couldn't wait to try it!  That's the point. The more you ban something and this does include the banned books, it just makes it that much more desired.
 It also falls back to free speech. While these parents may mean well, they are once again condemning that by having a banned books list. I mean Harry Potter, a children's book about wizards and magic is a banned book? It's important to encourage our children's imaginations, not stifle and cripple them. To put it bluntly, the world can be a really shitty place and personally as a parent, I want my daughters to enjoy as much of their childhood as possible before they have to grow up and learn that ugly truth. We shouldn't be pushing them towards thinking realistically and getting their head out of the clouds. We should celebrate and enjoy that they have imaginations at all and can still dream, bringing a little sunshine into this often gray world.
 We will be celebrating Banned Books Week and I hope others will do the same and enjoy the right to read.  For more information on Banned Book Week check out their website:

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