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Hi, I'm Jamie. I'm a writer, reader, and huge TV junkie. I just might post about all three here on this blog. Have a look around. And if you want, drop me an email and tell me what you think. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, September 30, 2011

TGIF over at GReads!

The awesomeness that is Ginger (or G, as I like to call her) over at GReads! has created a great meme that is tons of fun. Each Friday, she poses a question for anyone to answer. Go check her out and join in!

This Friday's Question:

Banned Books:

How do you feel about the
censorship of the freedom to read?
Do you think the education system
needs to be more strict on what
children are exposed to
in books?

I admit that this one is tough for me.

Let me start off by saying that I am against banning books/censoring our freedom to read. Ignoring the blatant civil rights issue here, I don't think it is healthy for people to not be allowed to read anything they choose. Reading--and the knowledge that inevitably comes with it--is not only a healthy way for us to cleanse our minds and fill them with imagination and creativity and wonder, but it's also a great way for seemingly incompatible people to connect.

That leather-clad, long-bearded biker you see speeding down the street on his Harley could be rushing to a book signing for his favorite author. Or your neighbor--whom you've never given more than a passing "hello"--could be as fanatical about a book as you are. The point is, reading bridges gaps between people, races, cultures, families...in a word, it's magical.

With that being said, I do feel strongly about not necessarily censoring what children read, but at least being involved in what they read.

I can remember as a child my mother reading to me, like I'm sure most mothers did. Of course the books were age-appropriate, but I seriously cannot recall her ever telling me that I couldn't read something. I don't remember ever saying "Hey mom, I wanna read Madame Butterfly!", and her saying "Not a chance." Why? Because I wasn't given the option of reading a book that wasn't right for my age.

I know this is confusing, that it sounds like I'm saying "Yes! Ban books!", but I'm really not. But we as Parents--not our teachers--should be censoring what our children are reading. We should be making the decision if a book is appropriate or inappropriate based on our child's age...or possibly even their emotional state (I know I would not have wanted to read Old Yeller until I was old enough to understand death. It would have traumatized me!). I don't think these types of decisions should be made by committees--whether it be in a school setting or anywhere else. Banning a book for an entire group of people just doesn't make sense to me. I agree and completely understand that some children aren't prepared to read some things (Twilight, The Mortal Instruments, even To Kill A Mockingbird are all books that are not for everyone), but punishing every child by not allowing them to read said books? That's not fair, either.

So, how do we fix this problem? How do we allow children to read books they want to read, while still giving children who don't want to read that book the freedom not to? Aye, there's the rub. In no way do I claim to know the answer, but I can't help feeling that if we get more involved in what children are doing/listening to/watching on TV/reading, then we would be much more informed as to what books they can/cannot handle--instead of just removing the choice altogether.

That's my time on the soapbox folks...and if I offended anyone, I truly didn't mean to! :)


  1. Great points, Jamie! I don't have any kids yet, but I can definitely understand why some parents may not want them to read certain things. However, I think they should just monitor THEIR child's reading--don't deny other kids the privilege.

  2. Oh Jamie.. this post is made of awesome! I love every thing that you had to say about banning books. You hit the nail on the head - it's the PARENT'S job to control what a child reads, not the teacher, or the school. Very well said!

  3. I think the only time a teacher should be able to monitor what a child is reading is the assigned books for said teacher's classes, thus keeping it age appropriate.

    Free reading and leisure reading should be decided by the parents and children themselves.

    Great post, Jamie :)


  4. Nice points. I agree that parents should definitely be involved in what their children read, just like my own were involved in helping me choose my books back in the day. :)

  5. I was a middle school english teacher for five years and navigating the world of literature is/was a tricky thing. Our school did not ban books per se, but they didn't get every book that came out either. However, in our curriculum we did have banned books that were required reading. We would be required to send out a letter to parents and let them know what books we would be reading for the year along with a short synopsis of each title. If the parents had an issue and were not comfortable with the titles they were encouraged to come speak with us. There were ways around their issues as many publishers of these books would publish censored versions that would take out the subjective material or rework it in a way that the main themes of these titles would be the same in either version.

    With that being said, I feel that it is a parent's obligation to discuss these issues with their children. If they are aware of the content of a book, they should sit down and talk about it with their child in a mature manner. Communication is key for people of all ages and it is crucial to keep these lines of communication open. A parent should let their child know why they deem the content of a specific novel inappropriate and discuss with their child why they don't believe it is a benefit for them to read.

    By the way, in my five years of teaching I only had two parents ever question a book on our school's required reading list. It isn't a banned or even a challenged book. It is Mississippi Trial, 1955. However, after talking with the parents, they ended up allowing their child to read it, after they read it first.

    Excellent post!

  6. Well said. I like the pics too. We did say it pretty similar.