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Think Banned Books Are A Thing Of The Past? Think Again.

(flickr, Muskingum University Library)

Did you know that this week is Banned Books Week? I guess a better question would be, did you even know that there were still banned books?

I remember back when I was a kid, the topic of “banned books” was a big one. I never really understood it then, and I certainly don’t understand it now. I was an avid reader as a kid. I begged my parents to buy me a new book almost every time we went to the store. Those Scholastic Book Order things they gave us once a month? There were at least five books that I wanted every month off of that thing (my parents very rarely let me order them, though). I’ve never understood the idea of banned books, I guess, because I figure that books are something that parents should be able to police on their own.

With the way that kids are today, with their iPods with games on them, their video games that they take everywhere, and their portable DVD players, I would think that parents would want to encourage their kids to read whatever it is that they want to. Just to get them to read.

Now, books are banned for a variety of reasons, I learned from Michelle Catalano’s blog titled “Celebrate Banned Books Week Because You Have The Right To Read What You Want“.  According to Catalano, the most banned book in 2010 was a non-fiction children’s book titled “And Tango Makes Three” about two male penguins who raised a baby together at the Central Park Zoo in New York. Why was it banned? Because Focus On The Family claimed that the book had a political agenda, and others were worried that it was teaching kids that same-sex relationships are acceptable (the horror!). And why does Catalano think that people are so adamant about banning books like “Tango”?:

Because people would rather shield their children from things they don’t understand or agree with rather than have them learn. This is why book banning is a dangerous thing; it serves to ignore or eradicate instead of teach. It serves to make narrow minds where enlightenment should be taking place and it serves to isolate communities when their libraries are held hostage by the ideals of the few.

She’s also stated (and I agree with her) that what children read shouldn’t be dictated by people that don’t even know them. It should be dictated by the children’s parents. Let them decide what is or is not appropriate for their child. That’s why they’re the parents.

Want to do your part to celebrate Banned Books Week? Catalano has some great ideas as to how you can do that and you can find them at the end of her blog.

Do you think that books should be banned? Or do you think that you should have the right to choose what is or is not appropriate for your child to read?

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