Books. The gateway to knowledge and imagination. Everyone loves books, no matter your age! Books have a way of evoking emotion through the reader, and taking them to places they’ve never been. And yet, there’s hundreds of books banned in the U.S., most of them written by people of color and various racial backgrounds, and often telling of the hardships their race (and sometimes the author themselves) had to endure. Most books that are banned contain content that is not appropriate for kids. However, a parent does not have the right to ban a book, and have other kids lose the opportunity to read it, just because they don’t believe it’s appropriate for their child. Books written for kids should not be banned, because books are an immense part of education, kids can learn valuable information from books that they most likely would not learn from a schoolteacher or even at home.
Books that are banned contain content that is not appropriate for kids. For example, books like “The Color Purple” contain violence and strong language. It also tells of racial prejudice and sexual assault. Nevertheless, the violence, racial prejudice, and sexual assault in “The Color Purple” are things that happen every day – these and more crimes are common all over the world, it’s definitely not normal, but it’s common. The author herself, Alice Walker, refuted this in an interview: “…actually it’s happening somewhere on your block almost every minute. All the trouble, all of the trials and tribulations of Celie are happening to people all over the planet right now.” (Alice Walker on the 30th Anniversary of “The Color Purple”, Democracy Now.)
Another example is the “Harry Potter” series, which contains several acts of witchcraft, and is majorly about the occult and anti-religious matters. However, while the “Harry Potter” series is about magic and witchcraft, it does not reference to the occult, or Satanism. There are biblical allusions, especially in the final book, but it is not dark, or anti-religion/God. It uses biblical references to death, but never anything regarding dark, occult themes. Furthermore, J.K. Rowling herself states this: “To me [the religious parallels have] always been obvious…’I go to church myself,’ [author] she declared. ‘I don’t take any responsibility for the lunatic fringes of my own religion.’ ” (‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling Opens Up About Books’ Christian Imagery, MTV)
Books that are banned usually have valuable lessons, and those books can teach kids about the morals they should have, the history of different people, and so many more wonderful thoughts and ideas. Pat Scales, a retired school librarian, made a video in which she talks about book banning. “…most of the time books that are banned are very powerful books, and that power is terrific, but to take that book off the shelf is such a waste of energy in my view.” (What Banned Books Mean to Parents & Kids, I Love Libraries) Books, especially those meant for kids in school, have lessons that teach them about the outside world. In addition, they help kids develop their own thoughts and opinions. Stacy Zeiger, a former teacher, made a very genuine explanation on the lessons books teach kids: “Should third graders be required to read books that contain excessive violence or sexual references? No. Should an eleventh or twelfth grader? Maybe. Because the eleventh or twelfth grader is about to enter a world where these issues will appear and what better place to practice being taken out of your comfort zone than in the safety of the classroom or your own home?” (8 Reasons Why I Teach Banned Books…And You Should Too, Stacy Zeiger)
All books have lessons, no matter the genre, and it’s exceedingly important that we help children to understand the lessons books teach us. It’s also unnecessary to take away the privilege of reading a book just because you don’t approve of the content; but, if you don’t approve of the book, then consult your teacher or librarian! I’m sure they would work with you to make sure you and your child are reading what you feel comfortable with.
- Coatney, Sharon. “Banned Books: A School Librarian’s Perspective.” Time. Time Inc., 22 Sept. 2000. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.
- 2008, October. “Schools and Censorship: Banned Books.” People For the American Way. N.p., n.d.
Web. 20 Mar. 2017
- “Banned Books Week Spotlights Diversity in 2016.” Business Wire. N.p., 23 Feb. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.
- “What’s the Harm in Harry Potter?” com (beta). N.p., 14 Oct. 2013. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <http://www1.cbn.com/onlinediscipleship/what%26%238217%3Bs-the-harm-in-harry-potter%3F>.
- I Love Libraries. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Apr. 2017. <http://www.ilovelibraries.org/article/what-banned-books-mean-parents-kids>.
- Adler, Shawn. “‘Harry Potter’ Author J.K. Rowling Opens Up About Books’ Christian Imagery.” MTV News. N.p., 17 Oct. 2007. Web. 27 Apr. 2017. <http://www.mtv.com/news/1572107/harry-potter-author-jk-rowling-opens-up-about-books-christian-imagery/>.
- “Alice Walker on 30th Anniv. of “The Color Purple”: Racism, Violence Against Women Are Global Issues.” Democracy Now!p., 28 Sept. 2012. Web. 27 Apr. 2017. <https://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/28/alice_walker_on_30th_anniv_of>.
- Zieger, Stacy. “8 Reasons Why I Teach Banned Books… and You Should Too.”com. N.p., 13 Oct. 2016. Web. 27 Apr. 2017. <http://www.helpteaching.com/blog/8-reasons-why-i-teach-banned-books-and-you-should-too.html>.