At least two of the books I’m reading for one of my classes this year have been challenged in school libraries.
Why? Because some parent or teacher believes that they know what’s best for all children to read or not read.
Looking down the list of some of the most recently challenged children’s books, I’m noticing an infuriating theme. Ignorant parents are literally trying to keep kids from learning about acceptance and difference.
One book, called “And Tango Makes Three” is a picture book telling the true story of two male penguins who build a nest together and are eventually given an egg to hatch and raise together.
Another, called “The Family Book” was completely banned from an Illinois school district because it said that some families can have two moms or two dads.
Of course, these are just two of the more recent works that have been challenged. Let’s not forget the challenge that met “The Lorax” and its environmental message.
But, it’s not just kids’ books that are being banned. Moving up into the young adult realm, I was shocked to see that two of my required readings for a class – “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and “Looking for Alaska” – have been challenged in different school libraries for sexual content.
In this case, the right of a young adult to read a book that contains elements relevant to their growing physical changes and desires is being restricted. There was even a book specifically titled, “A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” that was challenged.
Too many adults think they know what’s best when it comes to “icky” subjects like sex or — that horrid taboo of — functioning families with homosexual parents. There are few who don’t know about “Catcher in the Rye” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” being restricted for their “offensive” language and scenarios.
The problem has grown so much that now there are those out there trying to stop children from learning that every person is different and deserves to be accepted for who they are and that there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have sex, as long as you’re smart about it.
Books are an essential resource to learning, and we have the right to read and learn what we want. Don’t force them out of others’ hands simply because you wish to remain ignorant.