Guys, Here's Why Books Should Never Be Banned...
Banning books is censorship.
Why We Shouldn't Ban Books
"Banning books is about individuals who believe they have the right to decide how we think what we see, and especially about individuals who believe they are protecting our children by attempting to bar them from reading certain books. The power and danger in book banning lies in someone's ability to think their opinion is the only one that matters, and, thereby, the only one that is allowed."
-Chelsea Condren, "Why Do We Ban Books Anyway?"
Banning books in schools and public libraries has become a common practice. From 2016 to 2017 alone, the number of book challenges at public libraries increased 9.4 percent. It's particularly upsetting to see the increase in book challenges correspond with the increase in diversity in books.
Besides, the National Counsel of Teachers of English doesn't even believe book bans work, citing many different reasons including the fact that banning something will only pique students' curiosity about the banned item.
It's impossible to cover every reason why it's important for both children and adults to read banned books, so we narrowed it down to a few we felt were really important. Make sure you let us know why you think it's important to read banned books and what your favorite banned books are!
Books help teach kids about diversity
It's incredibly disheartening to discover that, in the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2015, nine of them contained diverse content. This includes books featuring people of color, LGBTQ people, and disabled people.
If people attempt to limit children - and adults - to books that uphold the status quo, they may never learn to expand their mind and extend their compassion to other groups of people. For example, if a white child lives in a white neighborhood and goes to a predominately white school, books may be the only real experiences they have with people of color until they get older. By then, they may have learned negative attitudes about non-white people, especially if their parents are racist. The same can be said of kids without any out LGBTQ people in their life. If there is nothing in their life countering homophobic and transphobic ideology they hear at home or in school, where will they learn it?
Books are wonderful for teaching compassion to children. Some kids are naturally compassionate, but some aren't. The great thing about compassion, however, is that it can be taught and learned, and books are excellent teachers. Even just reading about the lives of people different from your own opens people up to new ideas and points of view. Taking diversity away from children is detrimental to their development into compassionate adults.
Check out this list of 86 books of the most frequently challenged diverse books on the American Library Association's website.
You can't protect your kids forever
Most parents want what's best for their children and want to protect them from the harsh realities of the world around them. The problem with that is that it's impossible to do. Offensive language is a common reason books get banned from both public libraries and school libraries, but how does that protect children if they're hearing the same offensive language from their friends, classmates, and, potentially, their parents?
Violence and sexual content are other reasons parents try to get books banned. Parents who haven't experienced hardships or violence depicted in many banned books come from a place of extreme privilege. However, keeping from kids the realities of the world isn't the answer. Whether you let them read books featuring real violence that happens in the world or not, kids will see it on TV. They'll hear about it from friends or online. It's impossible to hide it because it exists. The same can be said for sexual content.
Let's Keep the Conversation Going...
Why is it important to you to read banned books? What are your favorite banned books?