“When You Ban a Book, You Ban a Kid” October 3, 2012Posted by ccbooks in Quotes.
It is once again Banned Books Week and looking at the list of most frequently challenged books for 2011, I feel like I’m slipping a little. How is it that I still haven’t read anything by Lauren Myracle? Some books on the list, such as the guide to pregnancy, I have just had no reason to read. Many of my favorite authors who have been on the list in the past, such as J.K. Rowling or Philip Pullman, don’t seem to be challenged as frequently anymore. And some books, such as Twilight or Gossip Girl, I probably still won’t read, even to make a point.
The title of this post is a quote from Chris Crutcher that has been floating around. Crutcher, probably more than any author I have read, does a brilliant job in his stories of illustrating the horrific things that can happen when adults try to keep teens away from issues or people ‘for their own good.’ When you ban a book in an attempt to ‘protect’ the reader, you are sending the message that anyone who identifies with the experience of that book–be it pregnancy or homosexuality–is not worth a story and is not worth a place in the library or classroom. But those people are out there. Those teens are out there, in those libraries and in those classrooms. And just like everyone else, they deserve to be able to see themselves in literature. Huge thanks to those librarians who fight censorship and politely explain to people that they cannot take away a person’s freedom to read. Huge thanks to all the parents (including my own) who trust their kids to put books down if they feel uncomfortable, rather than trying to pre-emptively keep them from selected topics. Go here to see videos made by readers in all 50 states and go here to see the lists of frequently challenged books from ALA.