Don’t tell me what to read

It really annoys me that books are still being challenged and banned today.

I’m the type of person that doesn’t like being told what to do or how to do it, which means it really annoys me that books are still being challenged and banned today.

My personal belief is that everyone should be able to have control over what they surround themselves with, whether it’s people, media or books.

I feel as though, some books have been challenged because someone was bored and needed something to complain about. In 2014 for example, the classic Dr. Seuss book “Hop on Pop” was challenged for encouraging violence towards father figures.

When I hear about a situation like that, it blows me away. Really? Has any violent criminal out there ever said “Oh yes, the reason I assaulted that man was because I was taught to act in violence from ‘Hop on Pop’ by the beloved Dr. Seuss.”

Another book that surprisingly has been banned is the ever so popular “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green.

The reason for this ban is due to the fact that the book is intended for preteens and teens and it involves death, which may cause young people to face the reality that they will in fact die one day.

How can we censor something that will happen to every single one of us?

How does that make sense?  You can’t censor life.

Not all books are banned or challenged for seemingly ridiculous reasons.

Some are tried for valid reasons, such as racist or derogatory remarks, and I can understand where people are coming from in these situations especially when dealing with children’s literature.

But, what if we looked at it from a different perspective?

We can use this as a learning opportunity to teach children about differing perspectives and how things 50 years ago were much different from the world we live in today.

Then, there is merit to the challenge and resulting discussion.

I think that turning negatives into positives is necessary in today’s society because, we can’t go around censoring and banning everything that we don’t like. Instead, we should learn to embrace it or if you really just don’t like it, you always have the choice to just not participate in it, but don’t ruin it for someone who could end up enjoying or learning a lot from it.

Every February, for a week we take the time to celebrate our right to read and write as we please.

This year, from Feb. 23 to 27 you will find many of the banned and challenged books from over the years displayed at the library.

One book is “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie.

This book won the National Book Award, yet it is still a book that has been banned due to offensive language, violence and realistic depictions of bullying, among other reasons.

Take the time to put aside judgements and pick up a banned book. You just might discover something incredible!

Kayley Robb is an Assistant Community Librarian at the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library and prefers to choose her own reading material.


Summerland Review