Saturday, October 6, 2012

Students Respond to Banned Books Week

Poster one of my students made. Isn't she clever?
As an avid reader, I have always urged my students to celebrate banned books week by reading something someone else has deemed "wrong".  As the book club sponsor, we celebrate the week by hanging up posters and having a "read-in".  Earlier in the week, I posted my thoughts on banned books week.  You can read that post here.

But I also wanted my students to discuss their feelings on banned books week, since they are the ones it seems to affect most often.  So I encouraged by book club members to jot a few things down, and three of them participated with coercion gladly. 


Personally, books are my escape from reality.  Something I hold dear to my heart. I love to lose myself in a good book. Shock value is one of the best parts of the books I read. The thought of people I don’t know restricting me from reading something purely because they find it offensive is disturbing. People should be able to read what they want without “the man” trying to control them. So many amazing books that have affected my life have been banned in schools, which is truly a shame. Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Perks of Being a Wallflower are all great books that have been banned in some schools. Hunger Games, for example is a riveting book, and though some people might find it offensive, I loved it, enjoying the absurdity of it all.  I mean really, who doesn’t like a good book about children fighting to the death to avoid starvation? The point is I read all three of the Hunger Games books and I’m just fine. I’m not shooting arrows at people or trying to bring down a corrupt government. It was my choice to read that book knowing its theme was kind of morbid and I value that it was MY CHOICE, not someone I’ve never met deciding whether or not I could handle it. Banning books is banning knowledge and growth which OBVIOUSLY is wrong. I will keep reading banned books because that is my right and I truly do value it.


When I look back at all the books I have read, it shocks me to think over half of them are considered “banned”.  I have never found anything wrong with the books on the shelf in my room, but it seems there is.  To me, banning books is very wrong.  Children and teens should be able to feel the imagination and love you gain from books.  Book have changed my life.  They gave me a whole new outlook on life.  I find an escape from everything in my books.  I don’t care if they are banned and frowned upon.  Those books help me.  They could help so many others as well.  My mom does not frown upon what I read.  She supports my reading.  Every person should have that.  Everybody should be able to read what they want.  Reading builds people into being great, in my opinion.  I also noticed most banned books are banned for cursing.  Well, whoever banned those books obviously has never been to a high school.  Banned books can help people.  They can stop someone from taking their life, getting sucked up in the wrong crowd, and even help them deal with problems at home.  The banning of books must be stopped.  So go out and read a banned book!  (Some of the banned books I love: Water for Elephants, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Crank, and Go Ask Alice.)


I really like books. I mean, I really, really like them. As in, if my best friend and the last set of Harry Potter books were dangling over a cliff, I’d totally save my best friend, but only after at least five minutes of an internal debate and possibly making a pros/cons list.

Personally, I’ve never been limited when it comes to reading. My parents never censored my books, and they never tried to control what I read. If anything, they encouraged my devouring of books, always willing to buy me something new at any time. (Except for the one time I got punished from getting books from a Scholastic book order, but that’s a different story for a different day.)

There’s a point to this post besides my love affair with novels, and I’m getting there, I promise.

Banned Books Weeks. Can we just focus on the fact that there’s an entire week dedicated to reading and our right to read ANYTHING we want? Like, anything. As in, I could walk into Barnes & Noble and pick any book I so choose, and no one can stop me. And no one should be able to, if we’re being real here. Like, if you don’t like a book, YOU DON’T HAVE TO READ IT. No one is forcing your eyes to absorb the words of a book that you may or may not agree with. It’s your own opinion. AND PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS GOOD AND HOLY, DO NOT TRY TO PASS YOUR OPINION ONTO OTHER PEOPLE. YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO SUCH A THING. (This applies to a whole lot of other things too, but I’m sticking to books, keeping it clean.)

Don’t keep someone from the beauty of books. Just don’t do it, man.

So, Happy Banned Books Week! Go read something wonderful.

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