You Should be Aware of Your Kid’s Right to READ

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You Should be Aware of Your Kid’s Right to READ

February 11, 2011

I’m a great lover of reading. I’m not particularly picky of the format — blogs, magazines, books, street signs. 😉 My point is that reading is everywhere but with it comes censorship.

“Banned Books Week,” an awareness campaign, is being held this year during the week of September 25 – October 2, 2010.

What is it, you ask? From Bannedbooksweek.org:

“Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.

People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups–or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature.

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2010 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 25 through October 2.”

A list of the most commonly challenged/banned books for you peruse:

  • Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling (due to religious viewpoints)
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (racism)
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker (sexuality, profanity, homosexuality)
  • Bridge To Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (religious views)
  • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (language, viewpoints)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (language, sexuality, racism)

And books that have been challenged recently

  • The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (sexuality, religious views)
  • My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult (language, drugs, suicide, violence, homosexuality…)

It makes me sad to know that there are people out there who are trying to limit my child’s imagination. Some may judge me for saying that because there certainly are books, magazines and online content that is inappropriate for children. But I’m talking porn here, people. Explicitly violent images and text. I’m not talking news stories. Novels. Time Magazine. Those can be appropria-tized. Yeah, I just made up a word!

I truly believe that children need to be given the benefit of the doubt in almost all cases. They need to be given an opportunity to know what is fantasy and fiction and what is real life. Their minds need a chance to grow, and books are one of the very best ways to let that happen.

Ultimately: I believe that it is the parent’s responsiblity to supervise what your kids are reading. Read it with them! Discuss as a family! It is possible that then even seemingly “inappropriate material” can be made appropriate with proper guidance and explanation.

As is the case with any of their ventures into life, children should always have their parents backing in what they are doing. Involvement is the most important thing!

You can read more at http://www.bannedbooksweek.org to find out about the movement and about how YOU can support the fight against censorship. And more great reading at http://www.ncac.org/Kids-Right-to-Read.

Now all that said, my children are young (and not reading yet, certainly not choosing their own book titles!) so perhaps my views will be skewed when they are older.

So I pose the question to you: what are your children reading? Do you monitor their choices, read the books with them? How do you keep your kids from “inappropriate material” and what are your views on censorship?

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