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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Celebrate Banned Books Week 2012

As I hope most of you know, those of us in the library world have been celebrating Banned Books Week this week.  I didn't want to let the week pass on RA for All without mentioning it.

I wear my "I read banned books," pin every single day at work, not just during this week.  Why? Because when you take a look at the crazy long list of books that are challenged each and every year, you should realize that pretty much every book has someone who wants to ban it out there somewhere.

Yes, even in 2012; yes, even in America, people want to tell you what you can and cannot read.  I have no sympathy for any person who wants to restrict anyone's freedom to read no matter the reason. I could care less if I find the book in question revolting, I would always protect our right to read whatever we want.

I have passed this belief on to my children.  I own the bracelet you see on the left. [My mom bought it here.] I also wear this all year long.  It has been a great conversation starter with my children, since they know many of the books on it.  We have had talks about why the books are banned and then longer talks about why this is wrong, and how in our family we support people's right to read whatever they want.

When we talked about Huckleberry Finn in particular, I told my then 9 year old daughter about how some people want to ban it because the words it uses to describe black people are considered very bad today.  I think she summed up the stupidity of this argument well by saying back to me, " But Mommy, people were mean to black people then.  We know they were wrong, but if the book is about then, it should be that way."

So Huck Finn banners, see kids do know that the N word is wrong, but historically accurate; trying to shield them from it is only making us deny our wrongs as a people, which is never a good idea.

If you want to know more about Banned Books Week, including a list of books that were challenged this past year and throughout history, click here.

To participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out! on You Tube where you can upload a video of yourself reading from a banned book, click here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you have a pretty intelligent 9 year old! Through reading older books, we learn about our history.