This week, September 24 – October 1st, is Banned Books Week in the U.S., brought to you by the American Library Association.
Right up front, I have to tell you that I take a hard line against censorship of the written word…and yes, before you ask, that is from a parental perspective. I’ve raised three daughters, all voracious bookworms, and during their growing-up years, I was always aware of and involved in their reading choices. But my filters were my own, not arbitrary ones imposed on me by someone else. I always read a questionable book first and, if I thought it unsuitable, I gave my reasons and asked them to wait. Generally, they trusted my judgment. If they were particularly keen to read something, however, I listened to their arguments and often agreed with their reasoning…but we always discussed the book once they’d read it so that I could ensure they would maintain a balanced perspective and think critically about the content.
The point is, vetting their reading was my job as a parent. The material available to them wasn’t limited by an arbitrary decision made by someone who didn’t know them and had no idea of their capacity for understanding or asking questions. The books we read provoked introspection and dialogue, and opened up the world and life in ways my daughters might otherwise never have experienced — and in ways that helped shape them into the thoughtful, compassionate, and creative people they’ve become. And no one had the right to interfere with that shaping through censorship.
I support Banned Books Week because I believe in choice as both a reader and a parent. What about you?
(For more on this topic and a chance to win a banned or challenged book, check out the Banned Book Week Giveaway Hop)