Sunday, August 30, 2015

Still Banning Kids' Books? Really?

We have to ask ourselves the timeless questions:  Are kids' books still being banned?  Why?  And by whom?  The answers are as varied as children themselves.  This blogger believes a couple of words could readily sum it up:  fear and ignorance.

According to the American Library Association, 2014 saw 311 book challenges. That’s 311 times that some adult decided that not only did they not want their kids reading a particular book, but that they also wanted to keep others from getting the opportunity.

Banning books give us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.
Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
 Have a look at the top 10 most challenged books of the 21st century, you see literary classics like The Bluest Eye and Brave New World alongside fun tales like Bone and Captain Underpants.
Here are some examples of banned or challenged books and the reasons given:
Winnie-the-Pooh has been banned because he has no clothes on.  No animal nudity, please!

Another banned treasure is:  Where the Wild Things Are.  The reason for banning is "that it glorifies bad behavior." 
Another example of classics banning is:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  Reason given:  The book showcases women having too much power.  In 2004 both Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson conspired to get the movie banned from broadcast on public television because of “moral turpitude.”

Robertson would publicly state that “The Almighty told me that flying monkeys and witches are an affront to all good Christians.”  When asked at the time if either had ever seen the movie or read the book, they denied, saying that they “feared ungodly influence."  As recently as 2004, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell tried to have the film banned because of its "wicked flying monkeys."

Perhaps the point has been made here that book banning is an affront to freedom.  Parents do have the right to govern what their minor children read.  In a democracy, they do not have the right to actively ban books so other parents and their kids cannot make up their own minds about the books under attack.

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