I Like Banned Books (and I cannot lie)

Posted on September 29, 2011. Filed under: Banned Books | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

A few years ago, back before I got into this library business, I was a reporter for a small-town newspaper. In the space of a year, I saw two book challenges. The first one was a book in a middle-school library, Heart-shaped Box by Joe Hill. Okay, so that’s more for adults and possibly older teens, and the school district’s review committee decided the middle-school library wasn’t the place for that book – not terribly egregious.

The second challenge came when a parent (who, if I remember correctly, didn’t even have a child in the class) objected to an AP or honors class reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I remember that this challenge went all the way to the school board, who decided to only examine those passages they decided were offensive instead of, oh say, reading the book. Nevermind that the book was chosen by a professional educator when some of the school board members didn’t even have college educations. Nevermind that the students and parents of the students in the class didn’t have a problem with the book. Nevermind that the students were able to discuss the book with a caring adult and that those “offensive” passages represent real life.

Facts: Teens swear. They have sex and perform sexual acts. They use drugs. They commit crimes. They defy authority.

Myth: Books cause all of the above.

Fact: Books allow teens to vicariously experience all of the above in a safe environment.

Fact: Reading about all of the above can help teens deal with those problems in real life. The teen who reads Crank by Ellen Hopkins is not more likely to start using drugs, but they may be able to identify the book with some part of their life.

Fact: Reading about all of the above can be challenge teens to think beyond the confines of their own life. Why is that such a bad thing?


Make a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: