Friday, September 30, 2016

Reading Banned Books 2016

Last election season in our town was ugly. Neighbors against neighbors, ugly words and voices bantered around social media, friends taking a swipe at each other turned our little town crazy and divided.
One person said, "It's only politics. When the elections are over, we will all be friends again." I was shocked at this sentiment from a certain group (I can do a whole other blog post on why it's okay for adults to be cyber bullies but we teach our children not to be). They had no idea how destructive and degrading their words and comments were. Words have a lasting effect, for good or bad.

Aren't books the same?

There are a few banned books I've read or even been assigned in school. Some I can't figure out why in the world they would be banned; some make sense. But I choose if I will read those books. I find it ironic how many of the banned books I was assigned to read in school.

I appreciate parents who are concerned with the books assigned to their children or that show up in the school libraries. To me it shows they are involved with their children. Just this week, a parent at one of my children's schools brought up a concern about MONSTER, the graphic book. Her child is black and adopted. She was concerned about what the book taught and wanted it banned from the library. A team was formed of parents, PTA, SCC and teachers to read the book and give their insight.

The only issue with these kind of teams is that we are all different people with different tastes in books and stories. Someone won't like it, someone will love it. At the same time, this is a good thing. I think the process is a good one and actually works.

 Last year during the election season a parent came in concerned about the R rated movies in the library and wanted them banned. Then she went down the slippery slope of asking for the librarians, or a group of concerned citizens, to read all the books in the library and getting rid of the "bad" ones. The director immediately said no. There wasn't enough time or people to handle such a request.

Is it censorship if we ask a library to take a certain book or movie out of the public library? Is it censorship if I ask an English teacher to assign a different book to my child because the one she's being graded on is offensive to me?

 I want my children to read. I want them to understand the world outside of our home and their skin. At the same time, I want to protect them. My non-reader devoured the entire TWILIGHT series in a week. I wasn't about to stop her.  Then she read the HUNGER GAMES series shortly after that. And guess what? We were able to talk about boyfriends, healthy relationships and violence. I'm not saying I want her to read FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY, but I'm willing to be there for her to talk to about tough subjects. My mom wasn't emotionally available to talk about the birds and the bees or really anything sensitive. I learned a lot from books. I don't want that for my children. I want to be the one they come to ask questions.

The review group hasn't got back together yet so I'm not sure what will happen. I think the book is okay to stay in the library. We will see what others say. I do understand the mom's concern though. I hope she was able to take the time to talk to her child about the book and the questions s/he had. In this world our children need us. They need an advocate. Someone in their corner, listening to them, encouraging them, cheering them on. I want my children to know they can count on me, their mom.

What do you think?

What banned books have you read?

Do you think it should be banned?

Are there any books you'd rather not have your children read?

No comments: