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Banned Books Week

29 Sep

This week is banned books week. I know that I’ve blogged about it before but this week something very odd happened: While I was working, and consequently had just finished putting up my banned books week display at work, a man came in and purchased an audiobook. Later I found out that the title he purchased for $10.00 was “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan. I found out from a coworker that he had purchased the book with the intention of throwing it away saying that he did not want children to stumbled upon this offensive book.

Sometimes banning a book means writing a letter to a school or to a library. And sometimes banning a book is seen in the action of simply not providing access to materials. On a recent visit to a local library I found that they did not own many of the books on the frequently banned books list from ALA (

In America we take our freedom and rights for granted, I think. We assume we have the right to demean people, to say hateful things, and, that because we have our right to our opinion that we may impose it on others. When I impose my views of the world on a young reader I am telling them to only look at the world from my eyes instead of their own. If it takes a village to raise a child why would we want all the villagers to think the same?

And I know that many of these instances of censorship stem from love. But it is a disturbing kind of love to me, one that forbids growth and discovery. It IS true that books are seeds. I have found in reading books with friends that we do not always glean from books what others glean. Some seeds that are planted in my mind after reading a book might have nothing to do with the book or what the book was about. Something in the book stirs a thought in my mind, maybe one that I had always had or maybe one that I had never had. I can understand why a patron or concerned citizen may find this dangerous but I disagree: without the freedom to read any book that we want we are stunting our nation’s growth.