Being an American and an avid reader of all flavors of books, I believe we have the right to certain freedoms including freedom of choice. We have the right to choose what we want to read. We have the right to choose not to read a certain book. We have the right to be vocal about a book–whether to praise it or not.
What we don’t have the right to do is force our beliefs on someone else. That’s what Banned Books Week, officially running from September 25-October 2 of this year, is all about. According to the American Library Association, one of the main sponsors of Banned Books Week, “Banned Books (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.”
Some of you may say, “No way! Banning books? That doesn’t happen these days.” (Oh, to be so naive.)
It does. Take, for example, Wesley Scroggings, an associate professor at Missouri State University. In this opinion piece, he outlines his reasons as to why he wants Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK banned.
It’s one thing to prevent your own children from reading a specific book because you don’t feel it’s appropriate for them or because you don’t like the subject matter. That is your right as a parent. It is also your right NOT to read a book, whatever the reason.
However, it is another thing entirely when someone tries to prevent my child or any other reader from reading that book. That is not their right.
Support freedom of choice. Make your voice heard. Write an opinion piece. Comment on Mr. Scroggings’ own piece. Read a banned book today.
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