This week is a somewhat important week for a lot of writers. No it’s not another awards week or even a contest. Instead, it’s a week where we celebrate books that have offended some people and have been banned.
Banned books have been around for quite a while. One of the first instances was about 450 B.C. in Greece. Since then books have been banned for a variety of reasons by different people.
Between 2000 and 2009, nearly 5,100 books were challenged by individuals. Most of these challenges came from school libraries and over half came from parents.
For me that’s a very sad statistic. The teenage years are so very important for young people. It’s the time where kids start realizing that they aren’t an extension of their parents. They learn to think for themselves. By banning books, a young person’s ability to experience other ways of life are severely limited.
And to some, that’s the point.
Limiting the experiences of people or even hiding the fact that there are other ways, causes a bottle neck in the way a group thinks and acts. And when people don’t think for themselves, they become sheeple–creatures to be led around by others. It makes it easier for others to control the masses. It brings pain, suffering and oppression to those who don’t fit the mold of normal. In the long run it strangles free thinking and individuality.
This is why we need to support books that have been challenged and banned from public places such as school libraries, public libraries, academic studies and even college classes. Even getting a glimpse of other lifestyles can open up discussions in between people. Discussions lead to understanding. Understanding leads to the type of tolerance that leads to upholding ideas on both sides.
But it all begins with authors who are brave enough to write stories that they know could be banned.