An Open Letter to the Parents Who Ban Books
October 4, 2012
Dear Parents Who Ban Books,
Remember when I told your son that he couldn't eat that cookie because he'd rot his teeth?
Oh, never mind, that wasn't me. I don't parent your kid. That's your job.
Which is why I'm asking you stop banning books from my public and school libraries. You don't get to parent my children. That's my job.
Let me decide what's appropriate for my kids. Even better, let me teach my children to make smart choices about what they read.
When you ban books, you're making the choice for my kids. Do that with your own kids. Not mine.
What are you so afraid of anyway? Dangerous ideas? Sex, drugs, and anarchy?
Okay. I agree with you that some ideas are dangerous. But I disagree with you on that being a bad thing.
Ideas, dangerous or otherwise, are necessary to further our society. In a free society of thinking citizens who elect our own government, we must be able to deliberate, question, make decisions, evaluate evaluate evaluate and form judgements. That means, given the choice of ideas in books, we'll be able to recognizing what ideas are reasonable and which are not.
Also, I'm okay with books influencing my children. Books are meant to influence us. I'm also okay with parenting them through whatever ideas they're reading, even if it means that I force my kids to talk about the book with me, and facilitate critical thinking practice.
The Harry Potter series was banned in my school district when it first came out. Fortunately, the district realized that reading a book about a boy magician, did not make my students believe they could fly on brooms and curse someone to their death. Or become Wicca. They reversed this decision and the books became the reason so many of my students loved to read.
I want my children to have the freedom to choose what to read.
I don't want to live in a totalitarian state where some ideas are feared.
If you don't want your kids to read a particular book with ideas you don't like, tell them not to read it. (Of course, this about guarantees that they will read it but that's your call.)
All I'm asking is that you don't decide for my family. I'm asking that you stop censoring, abolishing, prohibiting, removing, and banning books from my library.
A dangerous parent (with a blog)
P.S. Just in case you think that all conservatives want to ban books, they don't. Read Grateful for Grace's blog post on the subject.
Melissa Taylor is a freelance writer, an award-winning educational blogger at ImaginationSoup, an award-winning teacher with a M.A. in Education, and a mom of two children, ages 6 and 9. Follow Taylor on Twitter or find her on Facebook.
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