Banned Books

“Banned Books Week at 30: New and Notable Efforts” caught my eye this week because it always surprises me that books can be banned. This year, Banned Books Week is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In high school I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and was shocked to learn that it is considered a banned book. At first I was shocked that my strict private school was allowing us to read a banned book, but after reading it and loving it, I could not imagine why people would not want to have children read such a great book.

What surprises me about banned books is that not only does it include classics but it also includes recent and popular novels. For example, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games Trilogy, and Lauren Myracle’s ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r books.

These popular novels, most of which I have read, have been such a huge success. Yes, they are not as great as some classics, but they have succeeded in getting millions of children and adults across the world to read a book. I remember the lines and midnight releases and excitement when a new Harry Potter book would come out. These books got millions of people, who do not normally read books, to get engrossed in a massive series and to me that is a success and should be celebrated.

In an age where it is more and more difficult to get people interested in reading I think these books should be celebrated and not banned. Going through the list of banned books, some books just completely shock me that they are on the list when I think of other books that I have been forced to read that are not on the list. I understand that people want to protect children from certain things, but I think children are seeing and learning far worse things on tv and the internet then they are in popular books.

I think in this age where it is more of a struggle to get students to sit down and read a book that we should be celebrating anything they are reading, not banning it. What a different world we would live in, if no one had been allowed to read Harry Potter. A book is a book and we should embrace that. 

Jessica Dick

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Banned Books

  1. I couldn’t agree more with you Jessica. I am actually shocked about the content on the “banned book” list especially given what is available to students on the internet and on television. The media,and parents for that matter, have embraced violent, sexual, and rather graphic content on most of the shows that are on during “prime time” that there children watch. Yet, they cant read Harry Potter because they fear Hagrid’s beard may lead them in the wrong direction? As you do, I also believe in cherishing innocence but I think that having a child use their imagination and suspend their disbelief in the reading of a book is far more valuable to the child then not. Books like the Hunger Games and Harry Potter give children who are going through a difficult time, some relief as they journey to another land. There problems are no longer in their head but rather the exciting and adventurous world of the hero/heroines in the tales. As a society, I think we really need to get our priorities right and realize that the problem is not the books, it’s the people.

  2. The list of banned books is absolutely shocking and I’m glad that you chose this article. “To Kill a Mocking Bird,” is a standard book that all high school students were reading when I was in school. It was something that these students could relate to because they were mostly all reading this novel. This specific novel taught so many life lessons that children are learning today but in a negative way. Children are watching TV shows that make off-hand jokes about rape, prejudices, and abortion that make children believe that these serious matters are funny. I also want to call attention to the fact that you stated, “it doesn’t matter what people are reading, as long as they are reading.” I think that is extremely important and in each novel and in each case it is different. To get people to sit down and read a novel and focus is hard to do today. The fact that so many people were interested in Harry Potter and The Hunger Games means that there is something deep rooted in those novels that attracts so many people.

  3. christinaspinelli

    It’s wild to think that book banning is still something that happens!
    Suggested supplemental reading to this article:
    For anyone who is interested in reading about how the process of banning book works (in terms of what determines ‘obscenity’ and the specific court decisions involved in establishing the legality of literary censorship) here is an article that I found that seems pretty legitimate ( sources are cited, at least):
    http://people.howstuffworks.com/book-banning.htm

  4. The article, “banned books” makes a very valid point about the increase in book readers. Since books like: the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, Trilogy, and Lauren Myracle’s ttyl, ttfn, and l8r, g8r. Despite the fact that these books may not be profound as Homer but is extremely captivated by the themes and plots of such books as the one’s listed above.It is better for people and children to be absorbed in a book that can teach valuable lessons and help them utilize their imaginations, as oppose to staring and watching TV until their eye sight goes bad and their brains turn into mush.

  5. brittanygage4

    Along with most of the commenters on here, I agree with you Jessica. “To Kill A Mockingbird” was a required read for me in middle school and for it to be considered a banned book is very strange. I remember hearing how “Catcher in the Rye” was once a banned book and thought how weird it was to be reading it in high school when some high schools were not even allowed to have it be a part of the curriculum. What should be done is to encourage reading, not to make it taboo. Although, making something “off limits” so to speak, may actually make students want to read, say, “Harry Potter” or “The Hunger Games” even more. I think that would be an interesting thing to look in to.

    • I agree Brittany it is strange that a book like Catcher in the Rye might be banned in some schools but not in others. A book like that will always be relatable to adolescents. I mean he deals with a lot troubles that many other high school students do. With relatable books that not only captivate students but also engage them is the ultimate goal. Let’s be real hear children and adolescents are not nearly as sheltered as they use to be, so why ban a book that can enhance the reading experience as well allow the student to learn a valuable lesson or moral from the story.

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