Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In Honor of Banned Books Week

In light of how many sites will undertake a more profound take on banned books this week, I hope you will indulge me at least my own thoughts. Which is a lot of my focus today. I wholly support the availability of books. Truly I do. And not just because I want my own manuscript to be one of them. I think that to dictate what people can and cannot do goes against human nature and indeed follows a plan of suppression and taking away the concept of free will; the one and only thing I truly believe is given to us by God. If you do not believe in God, you cannot deny that we all at least innately feel the need to choose for ourselves, act for ourselves, and be allowed to think for ourselves.

For those in countries that still deny such privileges, the last at least still holds true. Thinking is private, untouchable, and unless acted upon, remains our own. So banning books and thus dictating what people should or should not be thinking is the grossest violation in my opinion.

Instead, we should educate, encourage and then evolve. No personal growth will come from hiding information from others. Sensitivity to children and what they can handle? Yes, most definitely and therein lies parental involvement that I personally have taken responsibility for. I read the same books my children read…and then talk about them if need be. I read out loud to my children and censor out words that I don’t feel they’re prepared to hear.

Am I grateful to the librarian for stocking age appropriate books? You betcha. Because as much as I don’t approve of banning books, I really don’t think my nine year old is ready for a book on how to build guns. So what’s the difference between banning a book and choosing not to stock one you feel is inappropriate? Good question. Honestly speaking, there are too many books in the world for a school library to house them all, and most times I feel they’re simply choosing those that would best edify and uplift the age group in which they’re trying to service. And if they don’t have it or choose not to carry it? No need to get worked up folks. There’s always the bookstore. They carry everything that you could possibly want (and don’t) and are free to take your children to and shop with them.

Banning in the strictest sense is often done by governments when they’re afraid of people thinking too much (back to the idea of thinking again…because thinking breeds action). I feel that thinking for ourselves though will inevitably bring accountability to those in authority. What message are they portraying? Is there anything in their conduct that should be more carefully looked at; that perhaps is sending people a mixed message. And…oh yes. Heaven forbid we actually disagree with you at times, because we all should be in agreement with one another. Because none of us are unique.

In the words of my all time favorite children’s commercial.

Happy Banned Books Week everyone!
and… Have a great day!

***Most surprising Banned Book to me (although I have to admit the movie creeped me out)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Banned in the province of Hunan, China (1931) for the portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level as humans.
I don’t know how they feel about it now…but seeing as how my children are sometimes one in the same (animals and human), I don’t have a problem with the book…or them watching the movie (just so long as I’m not in the room when the cheshure cat comes on).

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