It's that time of year again! Banned Book Week! Join me in fighting against censorship and read a banned book. (For my thoughts on censorship and the banning of books, please read all previous posts from the years. I just end up saying the same things over again.)
Below are a few websites with information about banned book week:
Here is the ALA's website for banned books where they discuss the freedom we have to not only choose what we read/watch/listen to, but also the freedom to express opinions "even if that opinion may be considered unorthodox or unpopular."
Here is a list of books challenged or banned in 2012-2013. This list includes the book I will be reading for BBW.
The book I'm read this year is Looking for Alaska by John Green. When this book was first banned (five years ago), Green posted a video defending his book and addressing the banning of books. He gives a lot of the same thoughts I have about it (which I will quickly sum up here in case you didn't click on the link above), which is that no one should be able to tell anyone else what not to read. This is a personal decision. It is a decision that should be made using your own moral and religious standards as a guide. I welcome people warning me about something in a particular book, but I will ultimately make the decision to read or not to read it by myself. I am not against putting a book down if I don't like it.
Green also talks about why he included the sex scene in the book. This is a perfect time to talk to teens about intimacy and what it really means. Books (and movies, TV shows, music) should open conversation. This is something my own mother did. I remember a specific time in my childhood. We had been watching a TV show (possibly "Diagnosis Murder," but I'm not sure) and it was about physician assisted suicide. The next day, Mom and I were in the car and she asked me what I thought about it. I honestly answered that I really didn't understand what was going on. So she explained it to me and we talked about. A couple of years later I was watching a TV mini series about Anne Frank. The images of the Frank family arriving in Auschwitz were so disturbing I turned off the TV and ran upstairs crying. My mom asked if I wanted to talk about what I had seen.
There was always open conversation between my parents, and part of that was that they used media to broach subjects that were difficult to understand or deal with. I totally understand that parents want to protect their own kids, but it is not up to them to make sure everyone else's kids receive the same kind of protection. There are books that I won't read. And I'm sure when I have kids, I may wait to let them read certain books until I feel that they are old enough to understand. To each their own. But don't force your views on the rest of the world, because the rest of the world sees things differently.
This ended up much longer than I meant. But choose a book from the banned book list, and fight against societal censorship!