Any discussion about banning books in print or online always grabs my attention. I always hope the speaker has an answer I can stand behind. However, none offered satisfactory information; they failed to leave an impression.
After publishing breaking news based on reports from the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom and the White House, I realized more needed to be said. As a writer, my first instinct is against banning books. However, I wonder what kinds of books my grandsons can read in their school libraries.
Somewhere there must be a clearer picture of the push to remove books from traditional and school libraries.
As mentioned, I have asked everyone I encountered for their perspective. Most responses have revealed that the average adult rarely has enough information to form an opinion. One gentleman countered my question, saying, “What books? No books have been banned; they are still available online.”
We discussed restricting access based on age or grade and our concerns further. He claimed there are pornographic books in schools that “instruct how to perform sex acts.” Obviously, banning books like that makes sense.
Despite his inability to say where he heard this alarming information, I could not fathom that being the case in any school. But really, what do I know? I am nearly 65 and have not been in a school library for decades.
Yet, what if one of my grandsons (middle and high school) had easy access to books with that type of information? Still, part of me worries about who is making the banning decisions. Worse, what is the objective?
Other questions keep nagging me. How much of the book banning is political theater? Is it really to “protect the children” against topics that make people uncomfortable, like racism and LGBTQ?
More Thoughts on Banning Books
A Utah school district took banning too far for some parents and politicians who protested removing the best-selling book of all time — The Holy Bible. According to AP, “After the Davis School District announced a review committee concluded the Bible was too violent or vulgar for young children.” They removed it from elementary and middle school libraries, and rightly so.
This brings me to another point. American publishers release age-appropriate versions of most topics. That is true for the Bible and other books; versions are specifically designed for children’s consumption.
For example, talking about reproduction should be different for each age group. Younger children learn about chickens and eggs, whereas an older elementary child might be ready to hear about how animals give birth.
Then, in middle school, they are probably ready to learn about changes in their bodies and human reproduction from a scientific perspective. However, homosexuality and related topics should be left to parental discretion.
Again, I have questions. Who is really behind the banning of books? What is their objective? How much of what news agencies publish and discuss ad nauseam on YouTube and social media is real? Where is the Department of Education’s position? Why does it seem as though the policy about grade-appropriate content is missing?
More importantly, how do I feel about book bans? One thing I do know is school libraries should only offer age-appropriate materials. What do you think? Let’s have a G-rated conversation in the comments.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
AP News: Utah district’s Bible ban spurs protest by parents, Republicans; By Sam Metz
NPR: The Battle Over Book Bans Takes a Toll on Librarians and Comes at a Financial cost