Today is the last day of Banned Books Week. I didn’t really do anything to celebrate this year. Except I have been listening to the Harry Potter series on my runs and walks around the neighborhood. Yay for access to books that other people disapprove of!
Every year, I think, “Maybe next year I will celebrate Banned Books Week at school!” But it’s kind of at a bad/busy time for schools, and it always slips up on me. But, you know, maybe next year. I do like to mark Banned Books Week here on my blog, and the best thing I read about it was this post by Colleen Mondor (via Sara Zarr).
We get up in arms about Polanski’s arrest but we do not cover the banning of Ellen Hopkins or Lauren Myracle, the segregation of John Green and Maureen Johnson and so many others. We tweet about what Polanski deserves but not about the reduction of choices at Leesburg and so many other high schools. The View debates rape and “rape rape” but not books taken off of shelves, put in special sections, put away. We argue what the word “no” meant when said by one child, one night, decades ago (and if the man who ignored it is to blame for ignoring it) and we then turn and say No and No and No and No again to so many intellectual choices for so many other children. We deny them the right to learn about the world through books – the most benign method possible – and then wonder why they learn badly when left on their own.
We’ve missed Banned Books Week here, but I encourage you to take advantage of the freedoms we have at some point during the next year. Read something different, something that makes you think. Maybe even something that offends you. Just because you can.