I always knew that freedom is highly valued among Americans. But living abroad has made it real as I see how free we truly are.
One of those freedoms is our freedom of speech which impacts reading and publishing.
Although I am a conservative Christian, I am not in favor of censorship. I’ve been on the end of censorship where access to something I want to see or read has been restricted. I cannot tell you how frustrating that is. I want to scream, “I’m a thinking adult! Let me access this.”
There are plenty of books I choose not to read; I “censor” myself.
And that’s the bottom line for me. Adults should have freedom to read what they choose.
Now as a parent and a homeschooling mom, I certainly censor what my daughter reads. That is my responsibility to protect her, a minor. But one day (quite soon) she will be able to make those decisions for herself.
For example, I’ve censored the Harry Potter books. I don’t consider them pure evil, but more a matter of maturity. When Sprite is twelve or older, I will be fine with her reading the Harry Potter series if she chooses. I hope that we would discuss it and that she would read it with an analytical eye, looking for where it contradicts our worldview. I wouldn’t be surprised if she dislikes the dark tone of the novels just as I did.
I always discourage twaddle, but I think that censoring it is counter-productive. Besides, when you’ve been raised on a diet of living books, there is little appetite for junk-food books.
The most frequently challenged books are classics. Look at these lists of challenged and banned books and you’ll see how many are books you’ve either read (and loved) or want to read:
Read more about celebrating Banned Books Week which is September 25 – October 2, 2010. And here is a silly YouTube video about banned books. This is suitable for sharing with children to initiate a discussion about censorship, freedom, and personal responsibility.
What are your thoughts on censoring books? Are you teaching your children about choosing books carefully?