It’s Banned Books Week again!
Every year, the American Library Association and a host of other reading-friendly organizations celebrates books banned for one reason or another—content, language, etc. Some of our favorite reads, such as the Harry Potter series, get banned for the silliest reasons.
From the bannedbooks.org website, we learn the following:
Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011. ALA estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported. (http://bannedbooksweek.org/censorship)
I thought about listing the five dumbest reasons why a book is challenged, but I found other posts dealing with this on the interwebz. Reading them, I realized there is only one reason: fear.
- Fear that kids will read something they shouldn’t. Who’s responsible for that?
You decide what your kids read; don’t try to decide what mine do. I want my kids to be Potter nerds. I’m pretty sure the school librarians know what they are doing when they pick books for kids.
If you feel you have a legitimate objection, don’t go all crazypants; at least read the book in question so you can discuss your concerns intelligently.
- Fear of diversity. What? We’re all different; are you MAD?
Yes, you are. If you can’t celebrate diversity, I don’t want to be like you anyway. We can learn so much by reading about other cultures, and soon we’ll see how much we have in common. Hello, deeper understanding.
- Just plain crazy fear of something that doesn’t even exist. Magic, anyone?
This one is my favorite. Who as a kid didn’t wish they could just think about candy and it would appear? J.K. Rowling once said (roughly) that the spells in Harry Potter weren’t real. You could wave a stick in the air and chant “Alohomora!” all day and nothing would happen, because she made it up.
That should be the end of it. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Fear keeps people from finding out more. Then bad things stay the same, and we don’t grow as human beings. When people fear something, they attack it. But books do more than tell us things; they reflect us. Perhaps there is more in a book than some people are comfortable seeing.
Look here for lists of frequently challenged books. Pick one and read it today—if you can find it!
Tunerville and 300th post update:
On my 300th post, one random commenter who answers a trivia question correctly will win a prize. I had intended to make it cookies, because of the poll I posted a while back (more votes for that than anything else).
Unfortunately, the cookie shop I wanted to deal with for my giveaway doesn’t want to be associated with personal blogs. That’s cool; it’s hard to control your info on the ‘net these days. (Maybe my last post had something to do with it; I don’t know.) Anyway, no ill will there, so I’ll look around and see if I can find something else. I may have to put off the post until the 30th. But the Tunerville reveal is still on. So stay tuned.