It’s Banned Book Week once again, and while challenges are going down, there is still a lot of fear and ignorance out there. I believe that parents have the right to make the choice of what their children read, but banning books to “protect” the young minds of all children is not right.
I read a lot as a child. I read books far more mature than my age. I was reading Stephen King, Anne Rice, Jackie Collins, V.C. Andrews, John Saul and Dean Koontz from a very early age. I am so grateful to my parents for never saying no when it came to what I was reading- of course they both were prolific readers so I was doubly lucky as a child (much thanks to Da for leaving Firestarter in the guest bathroom for me to discover and laughing at me when I put my face in front of the fan so my hair was blowing around me as I pretended that I was Charlie McGee, because yes, they let me watch the movie too).
As much as books have been a part of my life, as much as they have shaped the life I’ve led, I’ve never changed my entire self because of a book I read. After reading It, I didn’t go down to the sewers to search for a monstrous clown, after reading Go Ask Alice (often on the challenged list) I never took drugs, after reading The Secret Circle I didn’t go try to dig up a crystal skull and unleash deadly magic. Okay, I might have started a neighborhood “detective” agency after reading Nancy Drew, and I might secretly think that I’d make a better bounty hunter than Stephanie Plum, but what I’m saying is that books open your mind, they don’t put you under hypnosis and turn you into another person. A book won’t make you gay, or promiscuous, or a leprechaun. It can help you deal with the fact that you’re gay, promiscuous or a leprechaun, or all three. And God knows, there just isn’t enough leprechaun support groups out there. But books are our friends and if more people took the time to read the books they want to ban, maybe they’d know that.
What are you doing to celebrate Banned Book Week? What are you reading, or what is your favorite challenged book?