I don’t generally hop on my soap box very often; however, since this week is banned books week, I–a former pre-AP English teacher–have one real suggestion:
If your child has to read a book for school that you don’t like, instead of banning it outright in your home, read the book with or alongside your child and actually discuss what it is in the book that goes against your family’s personal moral and ethical codes. Most of the authors didn’t write their manuscripts with the idea that the way the characters or society behave is the way everyone should behave. Nine times out of ten, the author is pointing out what’s wrong with the character or society.
Books can lead to remarkable creativity and can help shape the way we look at the world around us.
Who bans books? Who burns books? Why keep people from learning to read? Who does that benefit? If you don’t know what’s wrong or improper, how do you make it right and proper? Why keep people from thinking, dreaming, and developing their own ideas?
I don’t ask you to answer these questions for me. I know my personal answers. I only ask you to think about this, and to take my suggestion about touchy subject matter into consideration.
Now…do I think there is an age where the material is appropriate or inappropriate– hell, yeah! Don’t hand my twelve-year-old a copy of Lord of the Flies or Brave New World and expect me to be happy about it. There’s a time and place for everything. Fifteen, sure. Twelve. Nuh-uh. I don’t know that I’d ban ’em out right– but there’d definitely be a conference where I was determining exactly why the book was being taught and what the student was expected to get out of it at that age. There’s a reason I used to make my sophomores re-read Lord of the Flies even though they’d been “taught” it in the seventh grade.
Putting away that soap box now.