Thursday, September 25, 2014

In Memory of Acts of Biblioclasm or Libricid (Celebrating Banned Book Week)

This week is "Banned Book Week". It is an annual week of celebrating the freedom to read.
Historically many books have been banned or challenged whether in a school environment, as curriculum, in a public library, or even by a government.

Book burning has been a notorious event in history. Historical mass burnings are remembered such as the Nazis burning books, or mass burning of the Bible by Muslim Clerics, or burning of the Qua ran in the Netherlands. However many other books are censored or banned every day in the United States.

Many different people challenge books, some places have a lengthy process to challenge the books inclusion. My library has a very detailed, lengthy form to fill out which is only the beginning of the process. Some challenged you may find surprising and ridiculous, some you may understand where the challenger was coming from.

However, I am of the mind set that as a parent, one needs to be aware of what your child is reading. What I deem appropriate for my child, may not be considered appropriate by others and vice-versa.
I have personally read each book that my child has been assigned in school. I realize that may seem like a bit much, but that's what I choose to I love books.

Knowing your ownchild you have a better sense of what they are emotionally ready for and can help to select or discuss a book with them.

When my child was an 8th grader, we read Night, by Elie Wiesel. It is an amazing book, but a harrowing, horrific account of Elie's time at Auschwitz. My child had only been exposed to the surface elements of the Holocaust. Reading this in depth was a book that he benefited from being guided through.

There are thousand of books that are banned and/or challenged. Some are ridiculously surprising such as A. A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh, as well as things such as the dictionary. Some books I see that are banned and/or challenged and I would acknowledge my own discomfort at my child reading them in a classroom or on their own, but yet I believe that  I should not dictate to others what they allow for their child. I don't allow my child to drink soda pop, but how many other people allow their child to do so?

One of the most ironic books that is consistently challenged and or banned is

Fahrenheit 451
by Ray Bradbury
There is something perverse about banning a book about book banning/burning. Of course Ray Bradbury claimed that the book was less about book burning and more about the fact that television had taken over the minds of the nation.

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