This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. Discussing challenged books, the reasons they’ve been challenged, institutions that have decided to exclude certain books and even libraries that opt not to shelve challenged books invigorates me.There’s nothing I like better than a lively discussion, especially when books are the topic.
This year, the focus of Banned Books Week is diversity. It seems that the rising trend is parents suggesting that specific books be removed from a school’s curriculum because they (the books) expose their children to “sensitive” subjects such as LGBT, racism, and atheism (to name a few). What cracks me up is that parents think by removing books from schools that they find to be offensive is actually going to A) Stop their children from reading them and B) Stop their children from being exposed to these topics/themes. What a book can be and should be is a starting point for an open conversation between you and your child about these topics. Unless you’re raising your kid in a bubble and off the grid, they’re going to meet at least one gay and/or lesbian and/or atheist and/or racist person in their lives. Most likely, they’re going to meet at least one a day at school. Because you know what??? These are the people that make up our society. Get a clue.
The ALA said that in 2014, 8 out of 10 challenges were made about diverse books. Last year, it was 9 out of 10. Doesn’t this say “close minded” to anyone else? Doesn’t it concern anyone else? By challenging books with these themes, I think it demonstrates a bigger problem on a smaller scale.
What really gets my goat is when parents challenge a book that they haven’t even read. That is the epitome of ignorance and stupidity. I’m referring to the ridiculousness out of Chesterfield, VA. Here’s the story if you haven’t read it. And can I just say, “Wow,”? People never cease to amaze me.
If YOU find a book offensive, don’t read it and don’t let YOUR child read it. It’s truly that simple. Don’t decide for others what is or is not offensive. It’s not your job.