Okay, I'll be the first to admit that I didn't read this book until last summer. I know, I know. Don't throw Coke cans. I had no idea it was one of the most challenged books from 1990 - 2000. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why.
So I did some research. Here's what I found:
This fascinates me. I'll admit that I rarely read for more than pleasure, and I actually enjoy books that make me examine my own views about good and evil, right and wrong, etc. I believe books can provide a safe place for such exploratory thoughts to begin.
A few words about censorship of books. I do believe that parents have the right to shield their children from anything they believe their child isn't ready to see/read/hear/taste. I work with 800 different kids on a weekly basis. Some of them can handle what others cannot. Parents have the right to screen the entertainment their children are exposed to, including books.
That said, I do not believe those same parents should be able to tell me what my children can or cannot be exposed to. I should get to make that decision myself, using my own belief system, my own set of values.
And that's where the line blurs.
I read A Wrinkle in Time and loved it. The crystal balls that are supposed to signify witchcraft. The time travel. The mixing of the name of Jesus Christ in with artists. I didn't even give it a second thought.
It's a great story. I passed it along to my 12-year-old. He read it. I don't think it shook his religious foundation. I don't think it made him question the line between good and evil.
But if it did, wouldn't that be a great way for us to have a conversation about what we believe? About what we believe to be wrong and what we believe to be right?
And anything that can get kids talking to their parents is a win in my book. And to me, that's what banned book week is about: The courage to have hard, gut-wrenching conversations with your children. Or within yourself.
The great thing about using books to do this is the situation feels removed. It's not something that happened to you, or to them. It could. But it didn't. And that allows for conversation, reflection, and evaluation of one's life.
That's why I celebrate banned book week.
What about you? Have you read a book that opened up a conversation with someone? What book? Have you read something that made you stop and examine something in your life? A belief?
And aren't those good things?