Today I just wanted to say a few words about how I personally feel on the topic and then I'll wrap everything up and announce the winner of the giveaway at the end of this post.
So this is how I feel. I don't agree with banning books. I live in a country where we have the freedom to say and believe what we wish. We have many freedoms that I know many other countries do not. This is why banning books, or trying to get them banned from certain public institutions really bothers me. If we have the freedom to say and believe what we wish then we should also have the freedom to read the books that will help us shape our own opinions. For anyone to question whether or not I or anyone else should be allowed to read a book (which in most cases, btw, the complaintant has given themselves the opportunity to read) is an intrusion of our rights as citizens.
I also feel that these rights extend to our children and teens. People may be concerned that a book is too violent or too sexual for children to read. That may be so. Perhaps some of them are (at least we can say, for some children). But I believe that the child him/herself has a right to any book under the guidance of their own caretaker. The charter of children's right's in Canada says this:
"Under the CRC, parents and other adults have the responsibility to engage children as active and valued participants in all decisions that affect them, while providing them with advice and appropriate guidance. Adults can provide age-appropriate opportunities for decision-making by encouraging younger children to participate in everyday decisions (such as whether they would prefer milk or juice with their breakfast). As children mature, their capacity for autonomous decision-making increases and greater independence should be encouraged. Age-appropriate opportunities for participation."I don't see how children can be active decision makers about the books they read if someone comes along and tells a school or public library that they can't let children read certain books. Like I said, maybe some books are too violent or too sexual for teens and children. But how is banning them the solution? Teens and children need to be equipped with the life skills neccessary in this and later years to deal with certain situations. Whether this means letting the child read the book and helping them process what's in it, or talking with them about why they might want to wait to read the book are solutions. Another solution mentioned over and over again in posts around the blogosphere is for the adult to actually read the book before saying whether or not they think it's appropriate. Sometimes there is just nothing wrong with the book and the person who has complained about it is getting something completely different from it than most nomal readers would.
I don't want to get all high and mighty though. I know, some parents are so overwhelmed. They might have a full time job and a bazzilion other things to do when they get home, they might be the parents of multiple children and therefore multiple readers. They might not be literate. They might not speak English. They might just not be in a situation to read every book or find out more about or talk to their children about its contents. This is where I see banning books coming in. I don't think it's always laziness on the part of the parent. And people trying to get rid of certain books certainly think they are helping both the parents and children out. I just don't think they are.
I think perhaps we need more trust. We need to know that there are teachers and lots of other adults who are willing to help out. Who are willing to teach children and teens about the issues. I think children and teens need to learn how to talk about certain things with their parents so that the parents can trust their children are doing well. Perhaps if they did parents would not be so hasty to think some issues are beyond them. Yep, I think trust is an important issue here.
There are many other things I could say about the issue but I think I should leave it at that. I don't think this is a simple issue. So in case you missed it in all my rambling, my points are: banning books = I hate it; decision making on the part of the teen/child = awesome skill building; simple solutions = not always so simple after all; and I feel that more trust is needed between adults and children when it comes to learning about and talking about "controversial" issues.
What do you think? Makes sense? Doesn't make sense? Agree? Disagree? Questions?
Wrap - Up
In case you missed any of them, here are all the posts I contributed to Banned Books Week:
Fri., Sept 23
Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop (with intro to Banned Books Week) (Giveaway is now CLOSED)
Sat, Sept 24
Banned Books Meme (includes Top Ten Banned Books of 2010)
Tues, Sept 27
Book in Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green
(Warning: this review is really a *head-desk* moment for me. Because I could see how this book was really amazing but didn't really feel it for most of the book I had trouble explaining my 3/5 rating for all the amazing things I said about it. Like I said above, I've been sick this week. I'm now not sure if my brain was quite there while writing this. I hope you enjoy it anyways ;) But after writing all this not so sure you are even going to click the link. Hmm...)
Sun, Oct 2
Banned Books Week: When Authors Speak Out
What I did for Banned Books Week:
I read several books for Banned Books Week including Looking for Alaska by John Green, Shine by Lauren Myracle, and (started) Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.
I watched several videos on the Banned Books Virtual Read Out YouTube Channel as well as several other videos not part of the channel which spoke to the persons experience.
I read several awesome articles by bloggers on how they feel about banning books as well as some more fun posts like quotes, book highlights, and author signings.
Overall, I had an amazing experience with the week.
And now for the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop winner.
I really enjoyed reading all your comments. Thank you to everyone who took the extra time to do that entry into the giveaway! I really did read all of them (all 137 of them)! Most people talked about a book or two that were listed on my post. And I can see why. These are some of the most read and most challenged teen books! As Judy Blume pointed out in her video most adults don't even know they should be worried about a book until children everywhere are reading and enjoying it :)
Some other books mentioned that people thought might be controversial in some way were: Dust by Joan Turner, Perfect by Ellen Hopkins, Harry Potter, Between Shades of Gray, Pure by Julianna Baggott, Love Story by Jennifer Echols, To Kill a Mocking bird, the Earth's Children series, Like Water for Chocolate, Shut Out by Kody Keplinger, Innocent Man by John Grisham and the Help by Kathryn Stockett, Fahrenheit 451, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, Lord of the Flies, Crank by Ellen Hopkins, Lolita, "For Whom The Bell Tolls," by Ernest Hemingway, Flowers for Algernon, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Forever by JUDY BLUME, and books by Jodi Picoult.
The WINNER of the Giveaway Hop is:
who chose Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Congratulations, Kristin! An email is on your way. Please reply within 48 hours or I will need to choose another winner.
Thanks everyone for signing up to my GFC, Twitter, or Goodreads. I hope you enjoyed Banned Books Week as much as I did. And I hope you enjoy my regular posts as well :D