My Opinion on Banned Books
There are so many great books that are banned in various places around the country and the world. It’s extremely hard to choose just ONE to give away. I ultimately decided to give away a copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury because it’s one of the books that really touched me when I read it, in a surprising and visceral way. I could very easily picture the world that Bradbury describes.
I decided on Fahrenheit 451 for another reason as well, I think it’s incredibly ironic that a book ABOUT banning books (among other things) would be in itself banned.
My opinion on banning books? I don’t think it’s productive or beneficial to society. Every person has their own opinions and their own set of values and judgements and all the other things that go into making us INDIVIDUAL people. When we decide as a whole (or in part) that some books are not fit for society, we are exposing our own beliefs and trying to ensure others believe the same. When we ban books (especially from school libraries) we’re basically saying we don’t have faith in children to form their own opinions and to ask questions. We’re also sending the message that we don’t have faith in the people in these children’s lives either, to help them understand things in context, to teach right from wrong, to learn how to think critically but also ask questions.
However, I do think that some books shouldn’t be readily available for children at a young age, For instance, I don’t think the Kama Sutra belongs in school libraries, even though it’s a classic and very well known. Some books are just not appropriate for all ages. The tricky part is deciding what books are appropriate for what ages. I think this is where parental discretion comes into play. Parents should know their kids well enough to know what they are mentally prepared to handle and what they aren’t. I know as a reader, I was very mature for my age and was reading adult books WAY before I was even in high school. Not adult in the sense that they had adult content (although some did) but in the sense of the reading level.
I think the trickiest issues come when books that are written for certain age levels contain content that some people do not consider age appropriate – for example And Tango Makes Three, a book written for very young readers that deals with homosexuality. Here again, I think it’s a judgment call for parents. In my opinion, (and this is MY opinion) I don’t think children should have to be confronted with gender and sexual issues until they are older. IF they’re presented with something or have questions, then yes, it should be addressed and maybe a book could be brought out to help explain things. But I do believe children deserve to have as innocent a childhood as possible. I think it’s really up to parents and guardians on whether or not the issues are brought up proactively or if they are discussed as a result of an experience the child has or questions that come up.
So to recap: My Shelf Confessions is giving away one copy of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. OR You can choose a $10 Amazon GC or equivalent at the Book Depository to buy a banned book of your choice.
This is open to INTLs, so feel free to enter! Just fill out the Rafflecopter mandatory entry (just your name and email, nothing else is required) and you’re all set. Good luck!