Choice vs. Censorship

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)




4 responses to “Choice vs. Censorship”

  1. Kenra Daniels Avatar

    I absolutely agree with you. As a parent, and now grandparent, choosing a child’s reading material is a parent’s responsibility. Too many people allow others to make their choices for them.

    I don’t have a problem with content advisories or ratings systems on book covers, as a means of assisting parents and teachers in selecting reading material for children. Banning and censorship is absolutely *not* the answer, on so many levels. These practices teach children, among other things, that even their parents can’t be trusted to make appropriate choices for them.

    1. lindapoitevin Avatar

      Good point, Kendra, and so, so true! The answer to helping our kids negotiate the growing-up process is to provide more opportunities for communication with them, not fewer.

  2. Suzie Ivy Avatar

    I was raised with the knowledge I could read any book I desired. When I was twelve I asked my mom if I could read The Happy Hooker. She said yes and I read two chapters before putting it down forever. If she would have said no, I would have read the entire book. I raised my 3 daughters with the same philosophy. They are well educated and all 3 are wonderful mothers.

    1. lindapoitevin Avatar

      I like your philosphy, Suzie! Amazing how well they turn out when we trust them to make their own decisions, isn’t it? Well, most decisions, lol!

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