Fight for Your Right to Read



Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”
― John Green, An Abundance of Katherines

Everyone has their opinions. Sometimes those opinions affect the way the world works. They disable others from learning important lessons. And sometimes those opinions mean that we have to ban one of our favorite books.
Every year, the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom documents hundreds of groups and individuals trying to ban or challenge books because of “intense, crude language” or “sexual references”. Hundreds of books are added to the banned or challenged list each year, and each year from September 25 to October 1, we celebrate the freedom to read those books. Several of these books are ones we analyze and write essays about like The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men, and even Animal Farm.
The classic Gone with the Wind was challenged in the Waukegan, IL school district (1984) because the book used the word “nigger”. In this century, so many people throw words like that out in conversations and don’t think twice about it or how it affects anyone else. Last time I checked, freedom of speech was in the First Amendment, but as does everything, there’s a fine print, stating the “extents” of our rights.
Books and novels were burned in countries like Australia and Ireland, for explicit content such as use of drugs/alcohol, and controversial issues. What do we consider ‘explicit” nowadays though? Don’t almost all songs played on the radio use at one curse word? Aren’t there sexual references in pretty every Rap/Hip Hop song? You don’t see anyone trying to ban these songs. And what about R-rated movies? If I recall, Deadpool used the “F” word every five seconds and there were plenty of sexual references. Do you know what people do when they don’t want their kids listening or watching these things? They tell their kids they can’t watch or listen to them. It’s not that hard to just tell your kids no.
Reading books that have been challenged is such a big part of your schooling. You learn to analyze novels and break down what the author is trying to say. We can’t censor everything; it’d be nearly impossible. Kids are going to hear vulgar and inappropriate things no matter where they are or who they’re with. There are billboards with “adult entertainment” joints on them and memes and posts about sex on any social media website we get on.
It’s a part of life, it there’s no matter what. Some of these banned books and novels hold such life changing lessons, so why are we trying to restrict them?