So, last week was Banned Books Week. It is essentially one week out of the year where the American Library Association celebrates books that have been banned in various schools and public libraries around the State. The goal is also to raise awareness about censorship.
I often find myself really and utterly confused about how, in this society, it is acceptable to censor or ban books. Granted, there is often speech that is hateful (I'm thinking of the awful anti-Islam movie that is creating a wave of protests around the world currently). While I think that the movie is abhorrent in more ways than one, I'm not sure that banning it is appropriate either. I think that banning books especially is a travesty because it narrows a person's knowledge, deprives them of the ability to evaluate and think critically about the material they read and ensures that a parent doesn't have to parent - they don't have to worry about what their child is reading and they don't have to talk to their child about reading. So not only do I believe that it goes against the values of free expression and free thought that our society prides itself in, but I also think it is laziness.
WhatI really enjoyed about the Banned Books website is the listing of books that have been challenged and banned. I like to try to challenge myself to read all of the books on the list. And the resources section is pretty neat too. Get out and read those books people! Talk to your kids about them.