Banned Books week has begun!  All over the world today students are sitting in classrooms reading books, and are being educated by their teachers on what is morally appropriate and inappropriate in these books.  While, in other schools, they are being told they cannot read certain books because they are corrupt, violent, or religiously unsound.  In some cases, teachers are told they must keep books away from students because they will make them believe violence is the right answer to all of life’s problems, but what they don’t seem to realize is that if a student is being told what is morally wrong about the book, and that they are learning a lesson from the book, the book can actually be a tool to end violence.

Books and stories have been used since the  ancient times to teach lessons and moral/ethical values.  Let us take for example a few book series that have been challenged by Church and State as morally wrong and unsuitable for classroom consumption. Banned Books on this list include The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling, and a collection of novels by one of the young adult generation’s favorite authors, John Green.  All of these books have been “banned,” but can still be read on a student’s own time, because of religious views, the use of drugs/alcohol/violence, and their unsuitable nature for young adult readers.

A list of challenged books, with reasons attached, can be found here.  And, a full compilation of banned books, based on the 2010 list, can be found here.  And, lastly here is the official ALA list of Banned Books.

Look for these book covers in your local library this week. There is a good chance they will already be on display in protest.

It is, as if, the list is deemed useless anyway because a student can walk into the public library down the street, use their Kindle,  IPhone, Nook, or Android to look up the book, buy the book, or rent the book.  Banning a book will only make it more tempting for many students.

All due respect to religious communities and government funded programs, but let their be books.  Let there be learning, and knowledge, and confusion.  Let children read to their heart’s content.  Let them experience pain through characters, and learn lessons.  Let them watch a book grow and thicken with plot.  Don’t stunt them because of fear.  Knowledge, even in the form of books that may not be from a certain background, carry a wealth of information and emotion that people must experience.