Friday, October 8, 2010

Katie B Speaks Out

Today's post is from Katie Bartlow. She is the founder of Mundie Moms, a Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instrument/Infernal Devices fan site as well as YA blog. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and kids while she attends many events representing the blog. Here is her post:

I'll admit, I've struggled a little bit with writing this post. Why? Well, because I have a lot of issues with censorship. I think it ironic that in a country of Freedom, this is even an issue. That may sound extreme, but to me, I feel that people should be allowed to respectfully share their views whether that's verbally or in a book. It's my right on whether or not I want to listen to them or read their book. I've been completely shocked to find that many books I read when I was younger and even ones I read as teen in english classes in high school, have been on the Banned Books List. Winnie The Pooh, Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss, Harry Potter, The Giver, Alice in Wonderland, The Diary of Anne Frank, Catcher in The Rye, Canterbury Tales, A Wrinkle In Time, Huckleberry Finn, The Grapes of Wrath, The Merchant of Venice, and the list goes on and on. I can understand in the few (very few) instances where parents would want to ban a book from a school as it was full of graphic adult content. I can truly understand that, but at the same time, if parents are more involved with what their children are reading, they can opt them out of reading that.

Many teachers offer alternatives for children to read, if for religious or personal beliefs, a parent doesn't want their kid reading a certain book. My parents used that right only once when I was school. I grew up with parents who were very active in what my siblings and I read. The book in question had a lot of controversy surrounding it, so my parents decided to read the book first. They felt that it wasn't suitable for me to read and opted me out of reading it. Instead I had to read a different book. Being the typical teenager I was, I threw a fit, as I thought I knew better than they did. I ended up reading the book a few weeks later and found my parents were right. It wasn't for me and I didn't even finish the book. I commend my parents for doing that. More parents need to be involved in what their children are reading, instead of allowing one or even a few people decide what their children can and can't read.

I have a hard time with someone telling me what I should or shouldn't be reading. I have an even harder time when they feel they can make that decision for my children. That's what censorship does! It takes away the right and freedom for me as parent to decide. No one has the right to do that. Censorship should happen at home, not in schools or libraries. What I feel may not be suitable for my child, may be exactly what the next child needs to read. Being a parent, I feel that my husband and I are the ONLY ones who can say what my children can and can't read. You better believe that I'm going to be reading the books my children will be reading. I will ensure that they understand what they are reading. When sensitive subjects come up, then I'll be the one to talk to them about it.

No one has the right to tell someone what they can and can't read. Books offer a variety of real life situations that reflect what is going on in the world around our children and teens. They need that place to escape to and to help them cope, open their minds and expand their imaginations. The world isn't a perfect, beautiful place full of innocence and love like we'd like to be. If it was, than censorship wouldn't be such a big issue.

1 comment:

  1. A well thought out and balanced post, Katie.
    I agree 100%. I am the best judge of what my daughter will read, and it's my job as a parent to make sure she understands what she's reading. I don't appreciate someone making decisions for me or my child.

    The Merchant of Venice? - Why? It's a classic. As are the majority of banned books.