BANNED BOOKS WEEK – Sept. 24-30
“Homer’s Odyssey was once banned in Rome, because ‘it expressed Greek ideals of freedom dangerous to autocratic Rome.’” Other notable books that have been banned throughout history include Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, and the Bible’s Book of Ruth.
Here are five good reasons for kids to read banned books:
Today’s edgy is tomorrow’s classic. Original work pushes boundaries in topic, theme, plot, and structure. What’s shocking today may be assigned in English class five or 10 years from now if it has true literary merit. The Great Gatsby is high school staple today, but was shocking when its gin-soaked pages were published in 1925.
There’s more to a book than the swear words in it. Many books have been banned for language that your kid has encountered before or will soon. Even potty humor (like in Captain Underpants) has caused people to call for a ban. A character’s language may add realism to the story, or it may seem gratuitous or distracting; your kid can evaluate.
Kids crave relatable books. Banned books often deal with subjects that are realistic, timely, and topical. Young people may find a character going through exactly what they are, which makes it a powerful reading experience and helps the reader sort out thorny issues like grief, divorce, sexual assault, bullying, prejudice, and sexual identity. The compelling teen rebels story The Outsiders has been banned, yet many middle schoolers cite it as the book that turned them into a reader.
Controversial books are a type of virtual reality. Exploring complex topics like sexuality, violence, substance abuse, suicide, and racism through well-drawn characters lets kids contemplate morality and vast aspects of the human condition, build empathy for people unlike themselves, and possibly discover a mirror of their own experience. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is an eye-opening story of an African-American family facing racism in 1930s Mississippi, yet it’s been banned for having racial slurs.
They’ll kick off a conversation. What did people find so disturbing in a book that they wanted to ban it, and to what extent was it a product of its time or did it defy social norms of its era? For example, Harry Potter was banned by people who felt it promoted magic. Reading a challenged book is a learning experience and can help your kids define their own values and opinions of its content.
Visit the Chesterfield Public Library today!
Read and discuss a BANNED BOOK with your child.