Banned Books in Schools

I was browsing the BBC website at lunchtime today and came across this feature on banned books in schools. I never encountered this kind of thing as a teacher, but I have always been profoundly amused at parents who believe that by stopping their children reading books they can somehow shelter them from the more unpleasant aspects of life.

Does anyone have any thoughts or feelings on this? I like to think when I have children I will be able to trust that they are mature enough to read the books and discuss themes like race, sexuality, drugs, violence or religion in an open and supportive way. That’s what my Dad always did with me. No books were off limits. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid ending up pregnant or addicted to narcotics. Go figure.

Seriously though. What do you think of this as a reader? Or as a parent? Or as a child?

2 thoughts on “Banned Books in Schools

  1. ryoko861

    This is very interesting.

    Especially the views between the two countries.

    I have to be very honest with you here. The US is a very spoiled, arrogant place. The UK is very laid back and has a “why are you getting your panties in a twist?” attitude. I like that! I do believe the UK is more realistic in their teachings of the real world.
    We, the US, have a tendency to shield our kids from everything. From sports tryouts to germaphobes, our kids are sheltered.

    I read another blog about this same article from my friend Pam: http://unconventionallibrarian.com/2010/09/23/banned-books-week-is-coming/

    I read “Go Ask Alice”. Did it make me want to go do drugs? No.
    “To Kill A Mockingbird” is on the list of banned books, too, and I don’t know why. I saw the movie, read the book in school and found it to be the only book I really enjoyed reading.
    “Cather in the Rye” – I never read it, but it’s considered a classic.

    Again, in the US, all it takes is ONE mother, protecting her child, to raise a fuss and it goes national. We don’t want little Janey knowing ANYTHING about boys or sex until she’s 18. Are you kidding me? Or lusting after a boy is for “those girls”. I do believe it’s a control issue.

    Definitely a post worth thinking about!

    Reply
  2. Siobhan

    I think the worst thing a parent can do is feel that they can “control” a teenager, because your teens is when you try to rebel and test the boundaries of any values system. It does remind me of when they decided to put age recommendations on books in the UK here, to help people buying books for children decide whether they would like it or not- because obviously every 13 year old is the same! They recommended Melvin Burgess’s Junk to 17 year olds. I was quite annoyed by that, because I’d read it when I was thirteen, and it definitely doesn’t portray drugs etc as glamourous. Quite the opposite! If people had tried to make me read the books they probably recommend for teenage girls when I was thirteen, you know- the Jacqueline Wilson books and things about horses, I probably would have taken my own eyeballs out!

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