Friday, October 10, 2014

Random Post #12: Banning Books...is it necessary sometimes?

Hey Everyone!

So Banned Book Week was a couple of weeks ago, from September 21st-27th; and so this past week in my Child Literature class our teacher had us bring in a challenged or banned book.  She had preferred them to children's picture books, but said it was okay to bring a Young Adult novel.  Me, being the avid reader, and lover of the YA genre, brought two...Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson.

Now, to be honest, I have read quite a few banned books, not intentionally, because they were banned or challenged, but because I wanted and also sometimes they were part of my English Literature curriculum in high school and Jr. High; but overall, before this past Monday night (when I have my class), I didn't have much of an idea of banning books.  I just always sort of assumed most people were against it, and that all people who were trying to ban books were narrow minded.

Now, I'm not sure if this post will gather some backlash, or if most people also feel this way, but after that class, I sort of realized that actually sometimes it is important to ban a book...at least for in schools, when they are not age appropriate for all students present in that school.

You may remember, a few years ago, I posted a post entitled, The Hunger Games should be BANNED!!.  It got A LOT of feedback!  To date, it's probably my most viewed individual post, with the most comments!  I had some supporters, and some very strong backlash, mostly from people who didn't read the post all the way.

You see, I believe there are definitely certain books that should not be encouraged to be read by a child.  And for one reason:  subject matter.

Should a second grader be reading The Hunger Games or Twilight?  Two books targeted toward ages 14 and up.  Both books contain subject matter not quite appropriate for kids...murdering, fighting, war, vampires in a non-kid sense, sex (in Breaking Dawns case), and certain wording and vocabulary that an average second grader might have trouble understanding.

Now my point is, should a book that is considered to be for ages 14 and up, and even SAYS it in the book jacket!!!, be present in a junior high library?

No...in my opinion.

Now, does that mean the book should be overall banned????

NO of course not!

If a parents decides to allow their child to read a book targeted towards 14 and up, and they decide to hand that book to their child, that is completely and totally up to them!  But should a child have the chance to get that type book without their parent's permission...No. I'm sorry, but I don't think so.



NOW, let me further explain something...and I'm sorry if this post gets a little confusing on my viewpoint...but maybe this will clarify it...

I DO NOT THINK A PUBLIC LIBRARY OR BOOKSTORE SHOULD HAVE THE RIGHT TO BAN A BOOK!!!!

My point is...SCHOOLS!!!!!!

I work with elementary school kids, I think I've mentioned this before...and let me just say, that a lot of them are a lot more "grown-up" than they should be.

You should hear the mouths on some of these kids!!!

The back-talking, the eye-rolling, the disrespectful responses towards us! WOW! Completely, unbelievable.  Someone I work with said something the other day, that almost makes sense...Parents today, give their kids too much freedom and encourage their kids almost too much!

Now, I'm all for encouraging your kid!  Trust me! But at the same time, your kid needs to learn how to lose at a game sometimes, or to be told when they are wrong, and not always take the opposing side, just because you feel the need to stick up to your kid!  That isn't how life works, and that kid is going to get a serious reality check in the future!!

Now what does that have to do with this post, you may be asking?  Well, it might not mean much to some of you, but to me I believe some of it has to do with the inappropriate subject matters available for some kids in the world.  And while I know, when the kids are outside of school, it's really up to the parents to make sure their kid isn't exposed to certain things, in a school setting, it can be at least avoided for a child to pick up a book that might not be appropriate for their age group!

Why are 14 and up books available in school where the kids are 11-13?

So, you see, I think, while banning books may mean something else to some people (like in a town where a group of people want to ban Harry Potter because of it's "black magic" altogether and not have it available ANYWHERE in that town, and possibly even outside of that town!) to me it means, doing the necessary censorship just so kids don't have access to certain subject books, unless they are given to their kids outside of school by their parents/guardians.



Does that make sense?

Let me make it clear one more time!!!!!

I DO NOT THINK BOOKS SHOULD BE BANNED, I think schools just need to "censor" and decide which books are age appropriate for their school libraries!!!!

Now, I know that most school libraries do this, but some don't!

I know this post sounds probably somewhat rambly, but overall I just somehow found this past Monday night's class really interesting, because it kind of broadened my outlook on the whole subject of banned books. :)

Thanks everyone!

The Romance Bookie :)

11 comments:

  1. Interesting post. I agree that little kids shouldn't be reading Twilight or the Hunger Games series. Libraries should also do a better job of moderating what books they have, based on the ages of the kids at their schools.

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    1. Yeah that was really the point of this post! :)

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  2. I am a teacher librarian in a secondary school. We have kids from 12 to 18. I don't ban books. There are some I won't buy, due to common sense; I have had kids asking for Fifty Shades Of Grey, for heavens's sake! But with such a range of ages, it really isn't up to me to tell a Year 7 they can't borrow books written for older readers. I have found that either they can handle a book or they can't. They find out soon enough and either read the book to the end or return it next day. I might ask, "Are you sure you can read this okay? It might be a bit hard..." But if they say yes, they're sure, I lend it to them. If you were a TL you might realise that even the year's Children's Book of the Year might be something you wouldn't normally offer to a child; some of them have adult characters, one I recall had incest in it - the author was very popular with the judges and tends to win automatically if she's written a book that year. I don't care for her books because I find them dull and literary, but I buy them anyway, because they're on the shortlist.

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  3. ... And some of our kids come to secondary school having read Lord Of The Rings! I'm not going to tell them they can't read The Hunger Games. As for Twilight I personally couldn't get past the first volume, but I remember before I bought the books that it was a ord of mouth thing. They were curled up in doorways and on steps around te school reading their own or borrowed copies - hey, I wish kids would do that with MY books! I bought the series. One girl who was doing ESL read the series in four weeks. Her reading level shot up that year - five reading levels according to our tests. A ter girl, one f my Book Club members, told me that she had first read Twilight in Grade 5. It was her very first book - she ad only been interested in sport before that. She had never looked back.

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    1. Excellent points Sue! This is why I write these random posts, to bring in some opinions and questioning! I agree with what you said. My overall point of this post was that I believe that books intended for 14 and up don't belong in a middle school where is no one that is even 14 yet. I don't think middle schoolers should be reading The Hunger Games, because it has an age restriction. I only meant they shouldn't be featured in the public SCHOOL libraries, not overall libraries.

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    2. But I AM in a public school library. And I have kids as young as 12 in my library. The Hunger Games tends to be mre popular when a new film comes out, but again, I'll leave it to our students to decide if they can handle the book.

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    3. That's where I tend to disagree. Because what if the parents don't want them reading it and they are doing behind their backs? My point is if a book is 14 and up, like The Hunger Games (it says the rating in the book jacket) then what is it doing in a public school where NO kids are over the age of 13?

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  4. Nice post. I'm not sure how I feel about banning books altogether, but yes, I agree with you about keeping some books away from children if they aren't age appropriate. Keeping the fact aside that, like you observed, kids are more grown-up, I don't think we can stop books being banned in schools for a certain age level by saying, 'but that's what happens in the real world.' This is the most popular phrase I read when it was said that a school banned The Fault in Our Stars for 11-13 age group. True, that's what happens in real life, but I think children can very well get to know about real life at the right time. Why do you have to stuff them with all that already? Let me know what you think about this one. :)

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    1. I completely and 100% agree!! I definitely don't mean all together, I mean in a public SCHOOL libraries. Why should a book intended for 14 and up be present at a middle school where no one is 14 yet??! That was really the point of this post :)

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  5. I'm all for school libraries making sure their collections are age appropriate. Hunger Games has a pretty heavy subject matter that would not be appropriate for kids under age 13 and of course no school should have books with explicit sexual content like 50 Shades. The banning issue that always bothers me are communities who have what I think is a completely skewed since of appropriateness. Ex: in the past some of Judy Blume's books have been banned from school libraries for addressing what I think are relevant subjects for teen audiences like masturbation and menstruation. If a parent doesn't want their kid reading about these kinds of subjects they have every right to withhold these books from their kids. But withholding these kinds of books with what other parents may believe have HELPFUL content is just plain wrong.

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    1. That is completely and 100% correct! What I really think should be is that books contain age appropriate ratings on them! ALL books! Make it like a movie rating, for content appropriateness. My point was really not banning, but censoring (is probably the more appropriate) word for what should be allowed in a public school library and base it on the content of the book, age appropriate wise, not religious or moral wise, if that makes sense.

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