Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week, September 24-30

Source: @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter

I always love Banned Books Week. I still find it amazing in our day and age that we even need to celebrate such an event, but the sad fact remains that books are still banned to this day. I mean, I guess I can see why. Books promote ideas. And what could be worse than people having ideas? They might change their life-views, expand their horizons, question the status quo, think for themselves! Horror!

It's one of the things that has truly shocked and disappointed me about my family dynamic. I grew up in a pretty sheltered, small environment. To be sure, my parents freely encouraged me to read and never really monitored what I read. I guess they felt that if I wasn't ready for something, I just wouldn't get it, but I wouldn't be scarred by the experience. And I think they were right. I am so grateful for that kind of freedom growing up. Then I went to college. Not only was I reading things, but I was discussing these things. I was no longer in a vacuum. I participated in the free exchange of ideas. And I changed. I broke off the shackles that fettered me to my parents' modes of thinking; in a way, I outgrew them. Eventually, I even became more vocal about disagreeing with my parents and questioning them and the status quo.

And it's like they don't really believe me. Like they think I'm going through some phase, like a rebellious teenager. If they even acknowledge it (my dad usually turns a blind eye and a deaf ear). This turn of events has certainly put a strain on the relationship. Mostly we can get along, but sometimes I just have to walk away or call bull-shit. Or pour another extra large glass of wine.

I wouldn't change it for the world.

I wouldn't dare go back to living a small-minded, closed-minded existence for the sake of familial harmony.

This is why we're here--to question, to think big, to dream big, to move beyond.

I am so grateful to books for giving me this medium to expand my horizons. This is so important in the current political climate. Books have made me question, books have made me wary, and books have made be fight.

This week I celebrate the perpetual quest for knowledge and growth by promoting open access to books. I hope you will join me by picking up something controversial and thinking about it. Maybe it will change your view, maybe it will reaffirm your view, but it will definitely change you and make you grow.



  1. Lovely. I will be celebrating Banned Books Week in my middle school classroom. Kids (usually) are very quick to understand why banning a book just because it has GLBQT characters is super offensive to, you know, GLBQT PEOPLE, and most agree that the simplest solution to a book being too "mature" for an individual kid is for that kid to not read it, as opposed to no kids being allowed to read it. It's the adults that can't handle it.

  2. I so agree with Wendy about it being the adults that can't handle it, and it comes through in your own experience, Lori. My own parents were pretty open in terms of letting me read what I wanted to, and I am grateful to that. I do appreciate how being able to read some of the controversial books in a classroom setting helped with my understanding of them, and encouraging my own critical thinking. Thank you for sharing!

  3. I remember as a young teen reading a real risque book and my mom tried to forbid me to read it. My dad said no - I needed to learn to find out what was quality and what was garbage. We all need to set our own standards in what we read. I did the same for my own children and my students.

  4. I didn’t love reading until I started reading books that were supposedly too “mature” for me. I think most kids know what they can handle. If a book is too intense for them, they'll stop reading it. (Just like they’ll stop reading a book that’s too boring for them.) I’m a big believer in exposing kids to new ideas and letting them read what they want.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  5. I feel this on a personal level...I am sooooooo different from the young woman I was fifteen, or ten, or even five years ago, and some days it's very hard to relate to my family because of how differently we view the world. Obviously I love them and they love me, but to say we don't always see eye to eye would be an understatement! I really credit reading to helping me expand my mind, not only because I started reading books that introduced me to new ideas, but because a] I got on Goodreads and started "talking" to other people who shared different viewpoints and caused me to think, and b) I think that love of language and learning really helped me to develop critical reading and thinking skills that have served me well as an adult digesting news and opinions in print and online.


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