Last week, as many may know, way Banned Book Week. I wanted to share this with you then, but life intervened. Regardless, I still want to share my thoughts on this subject.
Biggest thing is that no book should be banned from a county, town. city, state, country, etc. Government should not tell us what we can or cannot read! IT should not be illegal to own a particular title. I don't even think we should have to conform to what we take to read at school, work, etc but being that more directly and impacts others I MIGHT be willing to accept that as a comprominse but event hat is REALLY pushing it and I still am against it.
My life has been lucky in that regards. Not too many 'banned books.' There were certain titles the libraries would not carry, but otherwise it did not effect me for fiction. The only impact for what was not allowed was in High School. Bibles were not allowed on campus for any reason. Yet any other religions book (such as the Qu'ran or Torah) were acceptable. Not cool! Either all religious books should be out, or none!
Age challenge-these do not bother me for what age/grade level is acceptable in a book. Different children mature at different rates. I remember in middle school my English teacher offered to loan e her books, including some Dean Koontz and Anne Rice novels. My Dad was not sure I was ready for these authors. The content was not meant for my age. So he allowed me to read 1 of the more mild Dean Koontz books and then talked about it with him when I was done. Once he saw that I could handle what I was reading, I was given the green light to devour them.
To me, this is a great way to handle things for independent reading books. The only one who should be able to make the final call of what is (or is not) acceptable should be the parent. For group/class reads, this is trickier. This is when challenging a grade level is okay. Better nowadays to be safe about the required reading then take the chance of having parents mob the school. One angry parent can easily generate a 20+ parent mob. So playing it safe on required reading is fine.
Historical novels: This is one change in schools that infuriates me. Yet before I tell you what that is, I will forewarn you it may upset some of you. My stance is NOT meant to offend anyone but it is one I feel strongly about. So many writers from 1950's and older (in particular the 1800's) are banned for racial discrimination. Authors especially like Mark Twain. NO! No, no, no,no, NO! Iconic authors such as he should bot be banned nor should the books be altered to exclude words like Negro or Nigger (Yes, I said it. Deal with it! It is not directed at anyone nor have I ever referred to a person as such). Sorry, but is is what the African-American/'Black folk' were called then. They were looked down upon. They were slaves. Was it right? No. Yet things were what they were. They were not treated well. Life sucked for them.
Yet when an author writes about the current way of life, we want to look back and say what he wrote is wrong. we ban it or change the words. THIS is wrong. We should not sugar-coat the way things were. Parents and teachers should use it an an educational opportunity to teach fair and equal rights. To speak out against racial discrimination and they can use the books as examples of that. Even today, is someone is righting the book set in the 1800's. I encourage then to use words and speech and treatment that are true to the setting of the book. Is a 5 year old ready to handle that and understand the difference. No. but a 10-17 year old should.
Bottom line- Books should not be altered/corrected to keep from offending somebody. You don't like it? Don't read it! Simple as that. No adult should ever be told what they can or cannot read. Parents should be the deciding factor in what a child reads. While a school can decide the group reads they should have no say over a childs independent reading. That is the parents responsibility.
So what do you think? What do you agree or disagree with? Any other thoughts or areas I missed?