Banned Books Week
It's Banned Books Week.
For readers, writers, teachers, and parents, that should mean something. And it's not that we should be cheering for books to be yanked off shelves, either.
I'm the first person to raise their hand if there's a conversation about how some books are garbage, how I don't want my kids reading that, how I won't read such-and-such, for that matter.
But I want the right to make those choices for myself and for my family. No one else has the right to choose for me.
Based on the choices others have tried to make in banning books for other people's "good," censorship is a very dangerous road. A look at some of the most banned classics stunned me. It includes several of my all-time favorite novels. It also includes some I hate, but I don't think they should be banned.
Children's books in particular tend to get under fire, as well-meaning (at least, we hope) adults put their noses into parents' business and make the parenting decisions on our behalf.
One of the most currently banned books Scholastic publishes is well-loved in our house: Captain Underpants. (We've bought the entire series twice because the books were so loved they fell apart.)
I have a special place in my heart for Dav Pilkey's work. They were the first "real" books my son ever read on his own, cover to cover. Sure, they have lots of goofy potty humor and misspellings.
So what? They got my son reading. He laughed and had fun and advanced to harder and deeper books (without potty humor and misspellings!). Today he's a high-school junior who still reads a lot (much more advanced stuff). He has a great vocabulary, is a great writer, and, in my totally unbiased opinion, is a brilliant student.
Had I taken away his favorite books back when he was six and insisted he read Tom Sawyer when he simply wasn't ready for a classic like that, I think that today he'd hate reading and wouldn't have the academic success he has today.
And that would be a travesty.
One of my favorite posts about Banned Books Week is by Dan Wells, a great writer and a friend of mine. Read it. Here. Now.
Then go check out some lists of banned books . . . and then be really rebellious and read one.
I'm betting you already have.