Celebrate Banned Books Week. Read Something Dirty.

It’s Banned Books Week, which has gotten me thinking about which books have been banned, where, when and most of all, why? I always used to imagine books that were banned were banned because they contained things that were completely shocking and anti-social at the time of publication. Things used to be different, and I get that.

But I’ve recently been hearing all sorts of shocking things about books being banned for no good reason – particularly those for young adults. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson has garnered a huge amount of backlash, but more recently Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell has been the topic of hot debate – and this one really blows my mind – I found the book smart, entertaining, innocent and real. I thought Rowell did a great job of creating a believable teen world that neither tries to sugar-coat or whitewash the experiences of the characters, nor get too graphic about them. And I worry – if this book is a cause for concern, which books aren’t?

I came across a great add for gun control while looking into banned books:

I love this juxtaposition because not only does it point out that gun control is a major issue – and one that can endanger kids’ lives – but also that over-policing the fictional worlds of books is absurd.

Here are some other books – both classic and more contemporary – that have been banned. Some of them might surprise you!

I can understand questioning what is and isn’t appropriate for young readers – though, as you may know from my post on the subject, I tend to think they’re capable of choosing their own books and should be able to do so. But what I don’t get is banning books that have even a hint of questionable language or any reference to sex. I actually don’t get banning these books, period. If you don’t want your kid to read a book, talk to them about it. Explain why you’re concerned. Help them find alternate reading material that you deem to be more appropriate. This is your right (and probably responsibility) as a parent. But don’t go on a crusade to ban the book from being sold or carried in libraries. Don’t go on a mission to stop the author talking about it. I don’t think it’s okay for anyone to remove access to a book for everyone. No one has the right to decide what I can and cannot read but me, thank you very much!

Oh, also? Banning a book is pretty much the best way to ensure that EVERYONE will want to read it. It’s human nature. We like the forbidden. And on that note, I have a confession to make:

And I KNOW I’m not alone. Thoughts? Banned Books to recommend? Share in the comments! And if you’d like to learn more about Banned Books Week, go here.

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