Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Banned Books Week Post

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.


Shauna said...

Regardless of your religious beliefs, monitoring and choosing books for children should be the responsibility of the parents!

lauralynnelliott said...

I'm a Christian, too, and I agree that the responsibility lies with the parents to choose the child's reading material. I don't believe in banning books.

Sarah said...

I agree with Shauna that monitoring children's books should be the responsibility of their parents, regardless of religion. It's not like sex, violence, or whatever becomes more appropriate if you're not a Christian. However, I really enjoyed this post and agree that there have been some amazing blog posts about Banned Books Week this year.

Crystal said...

I'm sorry - I didn't really mean it to sound like it was only Christians that should monitor books, trust me we don't corner the market on morality at all, I would never claim that. I'm definitely not perfect I think in the end I mentioned society as a whole. I just brought up my Christianity because I know a lot of people that talk about wanting to ban books are Christians and Christians often get a bad name because of them.

I truly believe no matter what your beliefs are you should monitor your child's reading, and it should be you the parent or guardian, not someone else.

Thank you for the wonderful comments.

justpeachy36 said...

I'm a Christian as well, but and it's a big BUT... I am pro-choice whether it comes to book reading or other issues... Reason being, I am the one who should make those decisions and choices, not the government or anyone else. Free will means just that, I am the one who decides... Censorship is wrong!

It is most definitely the responsibility of the parent to decide what is appropriate reading material for a child. Not my neighbor next door who thinks he has a right to say what goes in the local library and what doesn't. There are lots of groups that ban books... it's not just religious groups....

Great post!

Shauna said...

Crystal - I feel like I need to apologize to you. I agreed 100% with your post but wanted to stress that it is the responsibility of all parents. I appreciated your words and look forward to reading all your future posts.

Sarah said...

Hi Crystal! Thanks for popping over and commenting on my blog, as well. My comment about Christian parents was aimed at bringing it into discussion. In my experiences, religion is often used as an excuse for banning books, as you said. So my comment was more about the idea that everyone should monitor and have the rights to say yes or no to their kids' reading habits, regardless of religion. However, it was not to say that you did or said anything wrong.

My comment was a little flippant because that's how my sense of humor works. If you had seen me in person while saying it, you would have seen the suggestive eyebrow raises that accompanied it. And I suppose that's the trouble with the internet- a lack of suggestive eyebrow raises.

Crystal said...

Shauna and Sarah,

I took no offense at your comments, I just wanted to make sure you didn't take offense at my post.

I think you both brought up a valid point that my post may have missed and you both did it in a very nice way. I took no offense, I promise, and Sarah I did get your flippancy in your comment. I just felt if both of you mentioned this then I feel there were others it could offend and I wanted to post my note at the top to address that. I thank you for bringing that to light and adding more to the discussion!

I value all thoughts and comment here on my blog.

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