The Freedom to Read

Why I Can't Wait to Share a Banned Book with My KidsSeptember 21-17 marks Banned Books Week. I’ve never really understood the idea behind banning books. To me, encouraging reading is encouraging reading. I mean, I’m not reading Fifty Shades of Gray to Lila at bedtime, but when the time comes, I don’t expect I’ll be telling my kids can’t read books. But Fifty Shades of Gray is a bad example of what banned books are, because after all it’s salacious pulp fiction with little literary value. The same can’t be said about other books that have been banned throughout the country:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • the Bible
  • The DaVinci Code
  • Captain Underpants
  • The Bluest Eyes
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • The Kite Runner
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

The list goes on, many a “classic” on there – books I read as an English major, books that hold literary value. Of all of the ones on the “most banned” list, perhaps the one that makes me the saddest is the Harry Potter series. Since reading Harry Potter so many years ago, A and I started talking about when we could share it with our children. Even before we had kids, we were daydreaming of sharing these amazing stories with our kids. Now isn’t the right time – we can’t make it through a 15 page picture book without Lila asking 35 questions a page so reading an extended chapter book isn’t going to happen for several years. But to think that someone else might take that experience away from us, or the joy of Hogwarts from our kids, that horrifies me. Books are meant to be read, to be shared and to be loved.

To celebrate Banned Books Week, I’ll be sharing some of the girls’ favorite titles this week. Sure, Knuffle Bunny has yet to be banned (or not that I could find at least but did you know Green Eggs and Ham was banned in China?) but to me this week is a chance to celebrate all books, the love of reading and the ability to share that love with others.

Read more about Banned Books Week at the American Library Association or the Banned Books website.  Help us celebrate this week by sharing your favorite children’s title – banned or otherwise.





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