Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Note: It has come to my attention in the comments that this may come across as only Christian parents should monitor their children's reading material. That is not what I meant at all - I believe all of society has an obligation to monitor their child's reading material, regardless of sex, religion, race or whether you are from Earth, Jupiter or the moon, vampire, werewolf, shape changer, hot viking vampire, whatever. I only brought up my Christianity to show not all Christians are people who want to ban books. Thank you to the people who commented and brought this to my attention. I hope I do not come off high and mighty because that is not how I mean to come off.
Back to the post now:
Wow - it seems this year that Banned Books Week has really created a ton of posts and lots of bloggers and authors speaking out. What is amazing is I think all of the posts and tweets I have read have been civil, well-thought out and not condescending at all. I think bloggers and authors and others have shared their point of view in a wonderful manner and a way that is not offensive to anyone and that is amazing with a controversial subject like banning books. If we as a people could work out other differences this civilly I think a lot more could get done in this country, but that is another topic and not one for my book blog.
So my thoughts on banning books - I am completely against it. I made a post last week about a choice of they banned books, a book that I have read (or a series in this case) which was the Gossip Girl series.
First off I would like to state I am a Christian, and I do stand behind my belief in God and in moral decisions. That being said I still feel it is the right of the parent to help a child or young adult choose books to read, not the government, a church group or any other group, or individual. I say what my children read, not the school board or some bored member of society with nothing better to do. I think you would find most Christians share this view, we are not the enemy nor do I feel we are being made the enemy in this fight. This fight is against individuals who believe they have more rights over what my children read than I do. Do I keep tabs on what my children read. Yes I do and I will continue to. But I will also continue to nurture their love or reading and what I limit will only be because I believe it could be harmful to my child at the age they are at. I actually have been trying to find more boy-type young adult books so I can steer my oldest son to great books for discussion between us. Will I let him read books that have drinking in them? I am sure I will when he gets a little older and I hope to discuss the right and wrong in the book. I feel most young adult books are out to make a point and the point does lead to right.
Let's go with Freefall by Mindi Scott as an example. The protagonist in this book is in an extreme downward spiral as the book starts. There is drinking and drug use and possible promiscuous behavior. But as the book progresses, the protagonist tries to turn his life around and the whole time he knows what he is doing is wrong, but he can't seem to stop it. I don't believe this book is promoting drinking or drugs in the least. It is showing a side of teenage life that most parents know is out there but don't want to believe their child would fall into. I say if this book interests my son I would encourage him to read it and let us talk about it. I think through that dialog I can help him grow and mature and that this book would be a help.
I don't have daughters, but if I did I am sure Speak would make the list of books for them to read if they were interested and for them to discuss with me if they would like. I think these books are out for a reason, the author believed in sharing a difficult subject to let teens know they are not alone and there are ways to deal with things and people to talk to. What is wrong with that?
So to sum up a post I know I have rambled on in, I am Christian and believe that book banning is wrong. Once upon a time we were a society where the parents cared about their children and stayed more in tune with them. Now I think we as a society have become less in tune with our children and therefore others feel like they need to step in. Let's take our rights back, know what your children are reading, talk to them about it. Don't feel the need to ban books, read, become aware and talk. I think this is the key to raising the future leaders of tomorrow. Not letting others tell them what they can and can't read.
Off my soapbox now. Am I over the top? Do you agree, do you disagree, do you think I'm a bad Christian, do you think I'm right on? Tell me how you feel - I'm interested. And if you have any great YA books about boys to recommend, please do. I have a few more years, my oldest is only 9, but he is already reading books above his grade level and more interested in longer chapter books.