Banned Books Week | Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week

If I’m honest, the whole idea of censorship drives me crazy. But censoring books? That one, I’ll never understand.

I don’t know if I can even begin to explain to you how important books are, and always have been, in my life and in my heart. Books were my escape as a child. Books taught me all the things I didn’t learn at home or at school. Friendship. Hardship. Love. Fear. Excitement. Magic. Lust. Anger. Sadness. Companionship. Books taught me that I would never be alone, as long as I was able to pick one of them up and immerse myself in the world that the author had created for me. There is an endless list of things that books have introduced me to over the years, and there’s no way for me to explain how grateful I am for that.

It seems though, that there will always be people that feel the need to challenge that. People that think they know what the youth of the world should be reading and what words they should be consuming. How dare young people read about sexual situations? Or violence? Or racially charged moments? Or various religious viewpoints? Sexual orientation that isn’t heterosexual? Witchcraft or magic? How dare authors put those things into words? We must challenge and ban those books! Put a stop to them! At least that’s what the various parents, teachers, politicians, and board members seem to think.

In those regards, we must also ban the news, right? And most television shows. And political debates, we can’t have those things popping up and tainting the minds of our youth, can we? Most art should go, right? Quite a bit of nudity in those silly old paintings and statues. And all education should cease in regards to the civil rights movement and things of that nature, can’t have kids hearing of racism, can we?

I hope I’m making it clear how absurd I find this whole thing to be. Banning books on the grounds of things like racism, sexual situations, political viewpoints, the presence of witchcraft, encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles, or violence has never, and will never make sense to me. What will shielding children from these achieve? Are these things that children won’t see or hear on television, in their day to day lives, etc?

Banning books is disgraceful and insulting really, to the intelligence and consciousness of the youth that they are trying to “shield”.

Banned Books Week should be important to all of us. Even if you never experienced that censorship first hand, you should still push for future generations to have the freedom to read and explore. To learn and understand. To be introduced to things in a safe and enlightening way, rather than the harsh realities of the real world. Let them read about depression. Let them understand it. Give them the freedom to explore sexuality. Help them understand it. Make the classics available to them, so they can see the words that helped shape the world around them. Treat them as intelligent and comprehending beings, and maybe they’ll have a better chance of growing up as such.

Parents, teachers, religious organizations, and political organizations alike, have tried to take so many pieces of literature away from the youth of the world. Catcher in the Rye. The Harry Potter Series. The Hunger Games Series. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The Kite Runner. The Great Gatsby. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Lord of the Rings. I think it’s clear that some of these people mean well in their efforts, but I don’t believe that any good has or will ever come of it.

Authors like Maya Angelou, John Green, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Judy Blume, J.K. Rowling and infinitely more have had their books challenged or banned at one time or another, all in the name of censorship.

This is why Banned Books Week matters.

Please, take some time to read and understand what is happening, and why it’s happening, and decide if you would like to stand up for the future of literature.

I believe it is important for the younger generations to have a chance to learn, dream, and understand, while they’re still able, and I feel that Books are able to give them that chance.

To learn more about Banned Books Week, you can visit the American Library Association’s site dedicated to the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the ALA or any of these other wonderful sites.
Some blog posts I’ve read recently that helped inspire me to put my opinion out there and join the conversation;
The Rambler, Illinois College,“Banned Books Week”
Nathan Biberdorf, “We Must Indeed All Band Together, Or Most Assuredly, We Will All Be Banned Separately”
Lady Jane,“Banned Books Week Challenge”
Kateywrites,“#RaisingReaders Monday: fREADom”

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

New to my blog? Why not read a bit about me; Like how I love Doctor Who, or what I would say to my Future Husband if I knew who that person was, or take a look back at various points in my life in my post about my birthday last month? Or, you know, do what ever you’d like. 🙂

10 thoughts on “Banned Books Week | Celebrating the Freedom to Read

  1. Ban books?? That’s stupid! I thought the banning of books stopped after WWII. You bring up a great point that there needs to be that sense of creativity and adventure for our younger generation! Well stated!

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  2. Great thoughts. My kids used to go to a school that had banned just about everything (long story – it wasn’t my preferred choice of school). Two years ago I took them out of the school and one of the first things I did was hand my oldest a copy of the first Harry Potter novel and made them both watch the first two films. It was life changing for them – my youngest had evidently been desperate for something to enliven her imagination.

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  3. “Books taught me all the things I didn’t learn at home or at school… Books taught me that I would never be alone, as long as I was able to pick one of them up and immerse myself in the world that the author had created for me.”
    Ohhh how that mirrors my own life… and how important those banned books are – there have been SO many important lessons I’ve learnt from reading so many of them!

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  4. Lexie, I guess some folks want some books banned for the same reason some folks want cokes, French fries and Twinkies banned. Neither view is likely to please everyone but I understand both viewpoints. I guess I tried harder to prevent my third grade students from writing dirty notes to each other than I tried to prevent them from drinking cokes. Occasionally a child would tell me he was afraid to go to sleep in the dark after watching some horror movie. The reaction of one student after watching some movie, I’ve forgotten it now -maybe Psycho – was frightening. He happened to be a child who had witnessed his dad kill his mother. Body parts of his sister were found by dogs a few years later. Sad story. Anyway he was not made well by exposure to more tragedy. I’m pretty much a believer in garbage in, garbage out as it relates to body and mind.

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  5. In my homecountry, it´s not too long ago that the communist government censored pretty much everything; I am lucky to be born just a few months after the so-called velvet revolution which put a stop to that – but still, since my native language is slovak, the choice of books was always limited during my childhood – only the slovak and czech translations were accesible for me. Since I have learned other languages, this has changed for me, but there are many poeple who depend on what other people decide to translate, which in a way is also a way of censoring…
    I´d say, the more languages a person can speak, the less victim of censorship they are…

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  6. Except that the “oppressed” minority folks bank books too because something offends them.
    Try finding a copy of Hansel and Gretel? Banned for killing witches!

    Alien Nation, by Peter Brimelow
    Paved With Good Intentions, by Jared Taylor
    White Identity, by Jared Taylor
    Shots Fired, by Sam Francis
    The Birth Of Prudence, by Ryan Andrews
    From The Dissident Right, By John Derbyshire
    Any of these books offend Liberals, so publication was squelched.
    There’s been an ATTEMPT to ban Gone With The Wind.because of its non-critical view of pre-Civil War South half of America.
    Animal Farm almost didn’t get published, because of reviews like this one:
    “Odds are it will enrage sensible folk, convince no one, and earn a small fortune.”
    Wait, don’t publishers WANT a small fortune?

    We could also discuss film censorship, but that’s off-topic, right?

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  7. One of my favorite “banned” books is Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. It is obviously a brilliant novel, and the reason it has been banned by some teachers and libraries is that is uses the n-word. Unfortunately, racism and slavery were a part of life back then, as they still are today, and ignoring these issues will not make them go away.

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