September 24th was the beginning of Banned Books Week. This annual event is aimed at celebrating freedom of speech. The reason I write about this is because you and I have probably read a banned book. I know I have and am pretty sure you have also.
As I look over a list of 50 banned books, I am laughing as I know that the ones I have listed below were read by my children in public school.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Native Son by Richard Wright
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Animal Farm by George Orwell
1984 by George Orwell
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
These were taken from a list of 50 banned books that everyone should read (here). On this list were also about ten additional books, not counting the Harry Potter books as we have read all and seen the films, that myself or one of my children has read.
My point is we cannot allow someone else to make decisions about what is to be read by others. I should be able to choose what I read. I do think parents should exercise some discretion based on the age of their children but by the time a child is 15, most should be able to make their own choices.