As I scrolled through the list of banned books and realized one glowing thing...the reason that most of these books are being banned is the exact reason we should be reading them in the first place. We have this idea that censoring reading lists will protect our children from the evils of the world. To educate children one of the best tools are example. You can instruct kids on not doing something bad but discussing why it is bad and explaining the consequences. This is one of the biggest reasons why I believe that we should have the freedom to read anything and especially at the high school level. I have said again and again that To Kill a Mockingbird has shaped many of my views and morals and yet this is one novel that since it's publication has been banned in many schools. When I read this novel the profanity and racial slurs provide the historical setting of the book. Lee demonstrates how both sides use and feel about these words. The Color Purple is deemed to be sexually inappropriate and yet I find that this novel aptly demonstrates the ranges of sex - what is love and what is a violation, etc. Walker's writing is raw but it is that openness in her writing that leaves an impression on a person.
I read on a website that the "Harry Potter" series was challenged on the basis that these novels were "anti-family". Hmmmm...for me I saw it in a different light. While Harry's Uncle and Aunt are horrid it doesn't make me want to runaway or disband my family. I think (J.K.) Rowlings shows us that if you don't have parents and your adoptive family is not a great replacement that there are other ways to get that familial feeling and group. Harry finds parental figures in his friends' parents and in teachers. He finds siblings in his friends and their siblings. For me I get the feeling of familial love when I read these books.
I am an only child so I didn't really have a role model that shaped my reading interests. My mom likes to read but she can take it or leave it; my dad's favorite saying is "I'll wait till the movie comes out." Being an only child I think reading was a way for me to get answers about the world. I didn't have an older sibling to question and my parents were not always able to answer m inquiries. What I know I know because I read about it. Reading didn't think for me but allowed me to think "what would I do in that circumstance". I don't know if I am an independent person but I am an independent thinker.
My parents are intelligent people and knew what I was reading but they were smart to let me make my own decisions. They probably knew restrictions would only make me rebel. And, because they are open and honest people I could go to them about things I didn't understand. When I saw the movie and when I read the book - To Kill a Mockingbird - it was my dad that I went to when I was frustrated with injustice and racial hate. I thank my parents for a lot but letting me make up my own mind when it comes to reading has been the greatest gift they could give to my ability to survive.
Anne of Green Gables - hands down my favourite book ever, the one item I would go back in a fire for. I always wanted an older sister and there wasn't really anyone to fill that role in my life. Then I read AOGG and poof, I knew who I wanted to be like and who shaped a lot of my own self and imagination. This is a book I don't think has been challenged and from all that I have read - appropriate or not - this is the novel I love.
In grade twelve - many moons ago - I had taken English 12 Honours and Creative Writing 12 and in both classes we discussed censorship. In the only essay I have ever gotten a perfect score was on the satirical essay, A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift. This was the first time I had ever given banned books and people's views on writing a proper consideration. And, many moons later it is still on my mind.
k (My Novelesque Life)