Yesterday marked the beginning of Banned Books Week (Sept. 24 – Oct. 1). What is that, you may be asking and I have to admit until I saw a post by Insatiable Booksluts on freshly pressed, I didn’t know it was celebrated either.
In this land of the free and home of the brave, we love that we have a constitutional right to the freedom of speech and you would think that we could freely write and read any materials that we desire to. For the most part this is true, but censorship is undeniably alive and well in this country and around the world.
Every year parents and community members seek to ban books from the vicinity of their children (in schools and local libraries). Some books have been on the “banned” list for more than 50 years, while others are challenged with the ultimate goal being to have them added to the banned list. The main reasons books are challenged or banned are: sexual content, racism, explicit language, and alternative religious views
I have always wondered why some people get so infuriated over books and their fear that they will bring the end of the world. To me books are tools to take you to worlds you can’t find at home, expose you to mindsets that you’re not aware of, show you a different side of the story and to awaken your imagination. But then again, I guess people who are afraid of the effect and influence of books aren’t ones who encourage different ways of thinking.
Personally, I think books can be used as a starting point of discussion. Why not encourage children (of all ages) to read a book, relate it to their life and discuss the topics that a writer explores, even if they are “taboo” topics? In doing so, I think it would encourage children to think more openly and cultivate their ability to express their opinions.
So in the spirit of freadom are you ready to celebrate? You can participate in the virtual read-out by posting a video of you reading excerpts from your favorite banned books, read banned books with your children, family members and friends and discuss them, and participate in any events your local library is hosting.