Kiersten White is the NYT Bestselling author of Paranormalcy. She has one tall husband and two small children and lives near the ocean, where her life is perfectly normal. This abundance of normal led her to a fascination with all things paranormal, including but not limited to vampires, faeries, and pop culture.
1. What is your opinion on censorship?
I think censorship is always counterproductive. If you are worried about what your children are reading, read it with them or before them. You can’t keep kids and teens from being exposed to things you don’t want in their lives, but if you are aware of it you can have an open dialogue and talk about why you think those things are wrong, or what the issues are, or how they feel about what they read. And that will always be more valuable and effective than trying to ban certain things or topics.
Censorship is a knee-jerk reaction to fear, which is never coming from an intelligent or informed place. And I think adults in general underestimate teens’ capacity to learn and form their own opinions about what they are exposed to.
Finally, what gives a single adult the right to determine what teenagers/kids in an entire area should be able to read? As a parent I absolutely value my right to filter what comes into my home, but I would never let someone else tell me what my kids can and cannot read. That is not for them to decide. If book banners want to prevent their own kids from reading certain books, fine. But don’t think you can apply your own value judgments to everyone else. I happen to quite like witchcraft and wizardry boarding schools, thank you very much, and I feel that any children smart enough to make it through the incredibly dense volumes of the His Dark Materials trilogy are certainly smart enough to come to their own conclusions about religion.
2. What are some of your favorite banned books and why?
As far as what my favorite banned books are and why, honestly, I don’t pay much attention to what is and isn’t banned. I hold book banners in such low esteem that I couldn’t care less what they think is damaging or detrimental. I always try to buy books based on their merit, and I would never let a book banner influence me one way or the other. That being said, whenever I do happen on a list of banned books, I’m always a bit pleased to have read nearly all of them. And somehow I’m still a morally upright and contributing member of society! Astounding. Don’t tell the book banners.