If you didn’t know, this week is Banned Book Week. And there’s been lots of great discussion in the blog world about the topic. Well, I want to jump on the bandwagon.
I’m not a fan of Stove Top stuffing. The smell makes me queasy and I think it has too many spices. And way too much salt. So imagine I go around to all the local grocery stores and demand that they remove Stove Top from their shelves. Sorry, everyone, but Stove Top just shouldn’t be consumed by anyone because I think it’s nasty.
Someone would probably egg my house, key my car, and write me hate mail…especially around Thanksgiving.
The truth is, nobody would try to ban Stove Top. It’s absurd. But people try and do ban books that they don’t like from libraries, schools, etc. Is there a difference?
Obviously, when it comes to books there is the moral issue–it’s more than dislike, it’s beliefs. And that’s where we get into the sensitive area. Is it standing for my beliefs or is it taking away the opportunity for people to think?
There are many things I believe in and don’t believe in. For example, I don’t believe in pornography and I would fight to get rid of it. That would be me standing for my beliefs. But would I try to ban a book about a teenage boy dealing with a pornography addiction? No.
Books open up discussion, help us see through other people’s eyes into experiences that we may never have. Books about sensitive topics often are the most powerful and the most eye-opening. Even if we don’t agree, we are forming our own opinions by not agreeing.
That doesn’t mean that I will let my own children read anything and everything. I remember my own mom telling me to wait until I was older to read certain books. If I had a twelve-year-old daughter wanting to read Twilight, I may ask her to wait. Or I may tell her that we’re going to discuss the books as she reads them.
In my opinion, parents should be the ones monitoring what their children read. They should facilitate discussion about the tough subjects, and help their children form opinions. Teach them to think. And if there really is a book that you’ve read and don’t feel like your teen should read, tell them why. And if you’re feeling very strongly about it, share with other parents why you think they should read the book and consider for themselves before allowing their children to read. There’s no reason to go off to the schools and libraries and force the book off the shelf.