This week I’m discussing banned books. Books are banned for several many reasons. Reasons include religion, sexual content, language, violence, homosexuality, anti-family messages, and moral or political reasons. Books are commonly banned from schools and libraries. Parents are also banning books, and they bring these books to people’s attention, a person with power who can do something about the book—like ban it. They might not want their kid to read a certain book for any of the reasons listed above.
I am a firm believer in reading whatever you want. Adults usually ban books because they want to protect us, but it just makes us more curious. Just because we read about someone committing suicide or about a man raping his daughter doesn’t mean readers are going to go out and do the same thing. I’ve read some pretty bad things in books—a thirteen-year-old girl standing in front of an oncoming train; a girl shoplifting for attention from her absentee father—but reading about these things didn’t make me want to try them. I didn’t want to shoplift or go down to a train station and kill myself after reading about them.
I have read about fifty-three—maybe more, maybe less—banned books. When I read most of them I had no idea they were banned, or why. The first time I realised a book I had read was banned was when I went into my school’s library in the seventh-grade, and I saw a display of banned books. I asked the librarian about the books on display, and she told me all those books were being challenged by the school district.
Those who are for banning books say it’s all about protecting a child’s innocence by not exposing their child to those themes. If a parent doesn’t want their kid to read a banned book, what right do they have to take the book away from other kids?
Those who are against banning books say it violates freedom of speech, which is guaranteed by the first amendment. They also argue that reading these books is not what kills a child’s innocence—peer pressure does. Just because an adult doesn’t think a book is appropriate for one child doesn’t mean it’s inappropriate for all children.
So tell me what you think. Should adults ban books or should we be free to read whatever we want?