Why Books Shouldn’t Be Banned

Books are essentially a gateway to another world through written word. Some books challenge the perception of everything while others can inspire a whole generation. Without books, much of today’s entertainment would not be the same. Unlike Film or TV, a book is only limited by an author’s abilities as a writer.

The reader may not agree with the words of the author, but it’s important to learn why that is. That is why banning books especially for young readers is essentially blocking off a whole world of thought. Banning certain written works can cause more harm than good to children and young adults. When someone reads a book, the reader is not only going on a journey with the characters, but also with the author.

Facts

The American Library Association explains the difference between a challenged and banned book. A challenge is the attempt to remove the written material while a ban is the actual removal.

According to the American Library Association data, the biggest reasons for banned books are racial issues, damaging lifestyles, blasphemous dialog, sex, violence/negativity, witchcraft, religion, politics, or just age inappropriate. The three most common reasons for a challenged book from 1990 to 2009 are sex, offensive language, and satanism/occult. The number one demographic for these complaints is the parents by a landslide. Schools, school libraries, and public libraries are the institutions that constantly challenge written work. The states with the most challenges are Texas, North Carolina, and Oregon.

The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian

The most challenged book since 2013 is Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian for its cultural insensitivity, offensive language, explicit sexuality, and violence. The 2007 novel depicts a boy leaving his Indian reservation to go to an all-white school. High school English teacher Lynn Frick stressed the importance of Alexie’s book in schools because of its exploration of personal identity and resilience the character goes through. He mentioned how difficult it can be for parents to learn that their children are being taught novels that deal with difficult issues like sexuality and gender.

“I think that the reason these books are just eaten up by kids is because they can relate to the topics and can understand some of the emotions that the characters are feeling,” Frick said. “It all really resonates with them.”

Even Alexie himself laughs off the the challenges his book receives today.

“There are these webpages and websites that pick and choose quotes from the book,” Alexie said. “Once you do that, you can render the book down to four masturbation lines. It gives the impression the book is some sex-filled Porky’s movie, and it’s not. I’m amused by all of it. And all it ever has done is help sales. So please, repressed Americans…Ban me, ban me.”

Some parents are very protective of their children and they don’t want them “being corrupted”. The BBC had an article on why books where frequently challenged in the U.S. compared to the United Kingdom. In the U.K., challenged books are rare, because of the school having full control and they also cite the U.S. to be a more religious society. Mike Holzknecht, a lawyer from Stockton, Missouri succesively led the movement to ban Alexie’s novel in his school district.

“The book is just chock full of vulgarity, profanity, obscenity and sexual explicitness involving minors,” Holzknecht said. “People around here, where it’s pretty rural and conservative, they will go a long way, but this book was so far over the edge. It doesn’t belong in a school.”

Other Famous Examples

J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel Catcher in the Rye is a famous example of a heavily criticized work. The biggest detractors only focused on the language and certain situations that happen, rather than the relatable feelings of Holden Caufield. Holden was a teenager who was terrified of adulthood and wanted to do his best to preserve innocence, because he hates the “phoniness” that comes with growing up.

Harper Lee’s 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird is another frequently challenged book to this day. It’s an important story that revolves around a white lawyer defending an African-American accused of rape. To this day, the detractors cite its material to be offensive or uncomfortable. It was published during a time of segregation in the south, and it was shown as a great example of integration. The discussion that come from this book can be valuable to have, especially for young people growing up in modern times.

Even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series couldn’t escape controversy from religious groups. A book burning in New Mexico took place because of the book’s alleged satanic themes. The fantastical focuses on magic and witchcraft, which many believe would attract children to “dark magic”. A lot of Trump supporters have criticized Rowling’s statements against the president, with many fans claiming they are tossing away their books.

J.K. Rowling Responds To Fans Burning 'Harry Potter' Books | News Flash | Entertainment Weekly

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher has been on everyone’s mind because of the Netflix show. A temporary ban of the novel in a Colorado district because it was believed that it glamorized suicide after students tragically took their own lives. Librarians in that area protested against this and said that reactionary censorship is wrong when it comes to the serious issues the novel and TV show present.

In Asher’s interview with PBS, he talked about the importance of young adult literature and how it’s important for stories like this to be out there for a younger generation.

“I just got an email from a reader who said that ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ was the first time they had felt understood,” Asher said. “A book shouldn’t be anybody’s first time feeling understood and that’s where censorship bothers me. These books need to be out there.”

Positive Impact

For all the controversy and negativity that can come with a book, there’s more enlightenment and positivity. Harry Potter’s impact on culture is undeniable. One of the series’ biggest accomplishments is single-handedly forcing the New York Times Best Selling lists to include its own section for Children’s books, because of how successful they were. More children starting reading just because of the boy who lived.

Many adolescents to this day feel like they relate to Holden’s angst in Catcher in the Rye. When it was published in 1951, many teens felt this one of the first they were being accurately represented.

A Northwestern University study concluded that Thirteen Reasons Why had a more positive impact than negative, especially when it came to conversations of suicide, depression, and bullying between parents and their children.

In today’s political climate, To Kill A Mockingbird can still be a reflection of racial tensions and the criminal justice system. In an interview professor Alice Randall explains why Lee’s novel is still relevant today.

“It explains to readers who don’t understand it why black people are afraid of the criminal justice system, because we have not gotten, historically, justice in that system,” Randall said.


When you continually tell people not to do something without valid explanation, they will want to do that thing even more. When it’s declared that a book is banned, it essentially makes people want to read it even more. Most of the time when a book is banned, it’s because a certain demographic feels uncomfortable. If that certain demographic makes enough noise about their displeasure over a book, then they could successfully get that book banned. Making a book unavailable to everyone around you, because of the demographics displeasure, is the equivalent of trying to make everyone have the same beliefs.

Harry Potter inspired more kids to enjoy reading rather than engaging in witchcraft.

Harry Potter

It’s okay to feel uncomfortable with Thirteen Reasons Why, but its impact on the conversation of bullying and mental health in adolescence is undeniable.

A fictional or non-fictional book can inspire a reader in think in new ways. If a book is making people having serious discussions about certain topics, then the author has done their job. It’s important for people of all ages to have these conversations, especially growing young adults. Depriving those conversations is harmful and will ultimately lead to ignorance.

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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76 Comments

  1. Mckinley
    6

    I don’t believe in banning books. But I do believe that parents have a responsibility for the kinds of books they expose their children to.

    • Petronila
      3

      Keeping children from inappropriate material and censorship are two important but separate issues. Keeping children from inappropriate material is not censorship.

  2. The old America didn’t ban books, and viewed the news reels of Nazi book burnings as horrendous. Boston notoriously (and humorously) made itself infamouse for local bannings. But America prided itself on personal and intellectual freedom, and felt pretty good about itself.

    That was then. I’ve seen pictures of groups burning Harry Potters books, holy books of all faiths and others deemed unfit by some group or another. All in America, all surrounded by small pathetic groups of moralists or cowards trying to understand a world that’s moving away from them. And it’s safe to say, America doesn’t geel good about itself anymore.

    • Mcmahon
      0

      “Groups” of private citizens have every legal right to burn books as a political or religious statement. It’s freedom of speech.

    • I don’t believe in censoring reading. Perhaps a parent can censor a book for a five year old. But adults should read whatever they choose, in my opinion.

  3. Chasity
    0

    Great article. Thank you for this.

  4. I was an avid reader, and my reading material was the one place I could hide from my parents conservatism and right wing politics.

  5. Milligan
    1

    When I was at a catholic school in the late 50s the catholic church censored our reading through an instrument called the “Index Librorum Prohibitorum” otherwise known as “The List”. Of course all it did was to sharpen our appetite for such material. I can remember being puzzled why Dante’s Divine Comedy was on the list.

    • “Index Librorum Prohibitorum”

      Awesome. If people are going to censor books it’s nice that they at least use a really cool name for it.

    • Can you give a reliable source for that? Dante’s De Monarchia was on the Index until 1881, then removed, but I have never heard of his Commedia having been on it. Of course, his Commedia (the adjective Divina was a much later addition) referred to a lot of misbehaviour and malpractice among Churchmen of various ages, so it would not have been unthinkable for some later Churchmen to want to have it banned. But was it in fact?

      • Milligan
        0

        Yes, well pedant certainly comes into focus here but I’m grateful for you filling in a gap in my education However I was about 13 or maybe 14 when I discovered Dante and I was, as I recall at the time, more interested in looking for pictures of black bums and tits in the school library. The works of Dante weren’t a priority. I’m sorry to disappoint you on my inability to provide you with any useful further information on Dante but I do genuinely thank you for your post.

    • Centeno
      0

      Isn’t that insane? The one way to guarantee that every kid in the school is going to read something is to ban it. Even the kids that wouldn’t normally be interested in it are going to read it.

  6. No need for the outright banning of a book in our days as the information available to the public resembles attempting to drink water from a firefighter’s hose. All kinds of establishments can effectually ban a book just by ignoring it.

  7. Juli Joiner
    0

    There are still a good many of Zola’s novels that have not been translated into English. Clearly too risky to expose to an Anglophone readership.

  8. Thanks to the internet censorship has become difficult to apply. Progress!

  9. M. L. Flood

    This is such an intriguing topic. Thank you for mentioning Thirteen Reasons Why; it’s so important when discussing the book ban debate to look beyond the classics and examine the YA and children’s lit that is being challenged. Since knowledge is power, reading is a special kind of power that allows for freedom and exploration. When it comes to removing an iconic story from library shelves we must remember that it’s the audiences (mostly children) who will suffer without this freedom.

  10. Julietta
    0

    My favourite banned book was White Lines; Lemmy’s Autobiography.

  11. “America don’t ban books?”

    Think Salinger, Conrad, Orwell, Steinbeck, Scott Fitzgerald…

  12. No kind of non-fiction should ever be banned. Though I don’t wholly object to the idea of banning books. The prime example would be The Anarchist Cookbook.
    It is obvious that we in America suffer from a mental health crisis. We comprise 5% of the world population, yet consume 50% of all pharmaceutical drugs.
    I personally don’t want an EDP knowing how to make a bomb.

    Aside from books that teach people how to create weapons of mass destruction there is no valid reason to ban a book. It is within your power to decide what you or your children read.

  13. Some people prefer staying in the dark ages where one would be seen as a good old Christian for burning the so-called witches at the stake. Their religion encourage them not to think for themselves in the first place.

  14. Dunaway
    0

    I’m grateful that my mother never censored what I read.

  15. Books are the first place a kid gets to explore ideas that are different from the family’s, see how other people think and live.

  16. Back in high school (2004-2008), my district made national news when they banned multiple sexually explicit books. It’s was an embarrassment that they later rectified. If a kid wants to read, let them read!

  17. No book has been banned in the USA since 1963, Fanny Hill, over half a Century ago.

  18. Books might not be banned, but there are any number of campaigns to have words banned.

  19. Yvonne Tapia
    Yvonne T.
    0

    Thank you for your article, it’s wonderful to point out the importance of why controversial novels may sometimes work for the best.

  20. I knew you were in trouble when saw a list of books to be banned by some rag, and at the top was Lonesome Dove, a Pulitzer winner, and thought, take aways Byzantine Bill’s copy first. Take ways something of his first,…please, ;like the Youngman joke, a sad slippery slope from Plautus. But looks, the gals and hags are magnanimous now, as the gates of the library are open again, i guess thats what you have to do when the sopranos and SCORSESE BOTH APPEAR IN THE SAME CALENDER YEAR, but not that either likes the other, as again, like the farce marrage you sold out to, too much Mario Puzo, not enough Titus Livy.

  21. Joseph Cernik
    Joseph Cernik
    0

    Good point on a challenged versus banned book.

  22. I completely agree! I didn’t know Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of Part-Time Indian caused a lot of controversy. I loved reading that book and thought it was captivating because of how raw it felt! I think that’s what makes it such a great read. If we start banning books then there is the inevitable consequence of having some voices heard over others. I think there may always be some controversial issue brought up in such personal accounts but that’s the point. Let’s discuss the issues. Let’s bring them to the light and explore their implications. Let’s not shut them out of public discourse. Thank you for writing such an intriguing article!

  23. I agree that books shouldn’t be banned. No matter how controversial a topic is. One needs to remind themselves of why the piece of art form was created in the first place. A genre is always a good starting point. For example, if it were a comedy, the purpose would be to entertain in making me people laugh. If it were a tragedy, the purpose would be to have the reader sympathise or empathise with either the story or the character/characters or all of the above. If the topic in a piece of art form is controversial, the purpose would be to get the reader to think. Anything that’s put out into the world to get the world thinking shouldn’t ever be banned. It could hinder inspiration.

  24. Books are a gateway to growing the imagination and developing thought. Without books we would not have the scope to see how ideas, images, and social cultures have progressed over time. They are a source of inspiration, a means to which we can detach from our world and enter a new one, an avenue to learn and stimulate our minds. If books were banned we would not have the power of words, and a such we would not be able, I feel, to truly ‘create’ and ‘process’ whatever that may mean (to me it means: being able to form a bit of our own identity and learn, whilst simultaneously expanding the operation of thought and language).

  25. The idea to ban a book is sort of idiotic, though i do agree with the banning of the Anarchist Cookbook which is completely none fiction. Ironic that you could probably find all the “how to do” in the book online, but besides that what is so harmful about a fiction story? If a story is vulgar and violent and expresses perhaps extremist or unhealthy values, it should be understood and analyzed. Like, what kind of person would write this? If someone agrees with it, well they are a concerning character from the start

  26. This topic is very important! Censorship, in my opinion, is all about control. Knowledge is power and by controlling what people can say, write, or otherwise communicate you can control what people know, limiting their ability to know the world and make educated decisions.

    Very well written article as well! Clear and concise, with enough material to inform, but not so much you feel overwhelmed.

  27. You make a good point about people wanting to break barriers set for them without a valid explanation. Curiosity and freedom to explore literature should not be repressed by any means.
    Thanks for a well written article 🙂

  28. It’s agreed–Books should definitely not be banned, at all, despite talking about dark, haunting topics, such as the above-mentioned ones in this article. As somebody who’s no stranger to obscenity and profanity, or to haunting topics, and who has always enjoyed books (and movies) with a great deal of action and everything else, I think that banning books is wrong.

    I read J. D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye” and Lee Harper’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.” as a young teenager and enjoyed them a great deal, because they covered such interesting topics.

  29. I’ll also add this about banning books and censorship: While it’s agreed that censorship is a form of control, if a person does not want to read a certain book because it contains too much “blue” language and explicit sex scenes for their liking, or if the topic(s) that a certain book or books cover are too intense for him or her to deal with, then it’s their right not to read such books. Banning them for everybody else, thus depriving other people of their rights to read these particular books, however, is totally wrong.

  30. It might be beneficial for some novels to only be available in a controlled or academic environment.

  31. I think the banning of books is a reflection of any countries fear of self-reflection and/or responsibility for their actions, most of the time. So far as I know, no books have been banned or challenged in my school/state/country (Aus) so I can’t make a huge comment about it.
    For a short story challenge competition, I wrote a short story in which a teenage girl is fighting for her favourite book to be kept in the library after it is banned. I did little research because it was more about her personal journey than the book-banning system.

    I think if someone is unwilling to give children the option to educate themselves about the diversity, difference and challenges of history than they’ve obviously got some challenges within themselves. As for Harry Potter, religion is a winding road that I will never understand.

  32. It would be a shame to see the book die, but even with the advancements of new technology I don’t think this will ever happen.

  33. reschilke

    The beauty of us as a human race is the ability to have the decision to choose what kind of person we want to be and what actions we want to undertake. For some people, the way they live is modeled off the books they read and the second hand experiences they gain from entering different worlds, rather than from their own reality. Books give us the opportunity to not only learn from other cultures, people, and perspectives, but can help us build our own as well. Banning books removes a child or young adult the ability to choose what kind of world they want to live in, and how they want to act. Children are not their parents, and it is unfair that a parent can make the decision to remove an entire world or school of thought from the grasp of their children. I very much agree with your article.

  34. Yet what about the diabolical book, such as “Mein Kampf”?

  35. Thank you for your great article cbo. I agree, books should not be banned. Books are one of the greatest gifts that any person can give, and receive. The information that is contained in just one book is almost impossible to quantify as every reader will have a different, even if only slightly, interpretation of what is written. From books we can learn about life – about ourselves, the world around us, our fellow humans, even our pets and so much more. Books give us an opportunity to not only think about the characters and the situations they are placed into by their creator, but also an opportunity to look into the mirror of our own lives and reflect on our own character and behaviours as we go about our seemingly ordinary lives. Imagine a world in which books have been removed from our lives as they were from the lives of people living in Hitler’s Germany. Taking away books takes away our power; power to learn and grow as individuals and as a society. As far as I recall I have never been offended by the contents of a book. If I don’t like what I read I can stop and read something else. However even in the books I have least enjoyed there is always something; a trigger, a message, a revelation that takes me one step further on my path of learning. I would not choose to give that up for anyone, nor would I choose to take it from anyone else.

  36. The books presented in the article are one of my all time favorite books. They expose readers, at a young age, to revolving societal issues and allows them to form an opinion on the matter, thus promoting avid thinkers.

  37. I like the sentence “Harry Potter inspired more kids to enjoy reading rather than engaging in witchcraft”. This is very clearly true. However, there may be some books which inspire readers to engage in activities which would be harmful to someone or to society as a whole, e.g. Mein Kampf (mentioned in an earlier comment). I am generally against censorship, but it is not clear to me whether everything should be allowed. I don’t think that there is an easy answer here, but I am very unhappy when religious right-wingers in the US (my country of birth) try to ban important books.

  38. Books are such a unique and irreplaceable form of knowledge that allows you to think of things in new ways. Whether we notice it or not the books we read become a part of us and change us. Some of the books discussed in this article were banned because they shed light on topics people didnt want to discuss and I think they’re desire to be rid of any source of literature that speaks truly to humanity and human nature says a lot about us as a species and our tendency to dismiss our mistakes instead of confronting them

  39. I loved the points made in this article. It’s very relevant considering the amount of censorship in today’s society.

    There’s a large difference between banning books that could emotionally scar a child for life and banning books that will teach them more about the world they live in. A book should not be banned because the topics are difficult to discuss; these are the books that should be brought into the light and talked about openly. For example, you mentioned that between 1990 and 2009 books were banned mostly for containing sex, offensive language and Satanism/occult, and most complaints against these books were from adults. I understand banning them from certain age groups, but banning them entirely is blocking off a whole range of knowledge for people to explore. Reading about these topics is not going to instantly turn a child into a sex starved, swearing cult leader.

    • Totally agree with everything you said. I think it is completely up to the schools which books they wish to be banned or challenged if there reason is fair, and, if the child still wishes to read that book, I am sure they can find it a any old library somewhere else, or the internet of course. Though I also think that there are certain books with explicit sexual, perverse or profanity (e.g. swearing) that should be challenged or banned until a certain age where the child is fully aware of the meaning and understanding of the words used.
      Everyone individual is different in how they may react to certain books depicting negative behaviours/activities, and yes, some may act out negatively, but that does not mean that all will.

  40. I wholeheartedly agree with everything that was said here. Banning books promotes ignorance and close-mindedness. The same thing goes for music. For example, when rock and rap were emerging, they each sparked immense controversy in their respective eras. Music and literature are outlets for one’s mind–a way to relate to something and feel okay in feeling what you’re feeling. When Eminem raps about illegal actions, he isn’t promoting them (nor does he actually commit them); he is creating an outlet for his thoughts. When JK Rowling writes about witchcraft and wizardry, she is not promoting dark magic; she created a world where people can escape and find so many themes relevant to themselves (loneliness, grief, bullying, etc.).

  41. While I’m not keen on the idea of “book banning,” I do have to ask, what exactly does the term mean? If a book is banned in a particular region, for whatever reason, can’t those who want the book still buy it in other areas? My point is, I don’t think “book banning” is even possible in today’s society. Sure, it can be taken out of schools’ curriculum, and bookstores may take it out of their stock, but does that really stop people from reading the material? Once a book is published, that’s it. It’s out there. I don’t really see how a book can be banned after that.

  42. Important not to overlook the theoretical boundary between fiction and non-fiction as if it were a hard and fast gap that cannot be bridged. Many literary theorists attend to it as a fundamental issue in aesthetic theory.

  43. Bodhi 心

    I totally agree! The important issues raised in challenging novels need to protected from censorship. Instead of banning books, we need to educate young readers about how to read these books and take away the messages without the ~corruption~.

  44. Why do we censor books and other explicit material? because we fear it and make it real and then our kids believe us.If we ban things, not only does it make the material more enticing, but equally more real. I think censorship is loving and kind because while children are still impressionable and formulating their ideas about things they may not yet know how to respond to certain material and so why put it in front of them. However, banning is not necessary because anyway when children gain a surer sense of self, they wouldn’t necessarily select harmful or explicit material because they wouldn’t feel good reading it. Anyway, we can’t blame books or authors or sugar or porn or alcohol or drugs or anything that anyone ingests; what we can do is to not give any of these forms unreal power over us.

  45. Books are the only things where you should be presentive mind

  46. Censorship is something that has always been an escape from reality. They allow people to be informed as well as entertained. Freedom was brought to people when the Bible was finally translated so that the common believer could read it. Essentially, knowledge is freedom. And any attempt at banning knowledge is one of the first steps of ridding of freedom.

  47. This article does a wonderful job of giving the importance of why censorship does more harm than good. The fear that drives censorship is based in the people who have no interest in reading and knowing the actual content and impact of a piece of literature. They would rather not open their own minds to new information and fresh perspectives, or even simply different perspectives than their own.

  48. Good article! I wish you touched on when literature is banned for non-content reasons, such as authorship scandal. An interesting example of this is when political memoirs and propaganda are written and banned (the most famous example likely being Adolf Hitler’s Mean Kampf which was banned for many years in Germany and other countries). Could be an interesting follow-up article!

  49. Yes, but I think it should be the radical reactionaries who should champion free speech. Has any of you read The Decline of the West by Oswald Spengler?

    Worth reading

  50. As a free speech absolutist, I really appreciated this piece. I worry about a society that defines free speech in such narrow terms that, if someone writes or says something to offend someone else, they can be silenced.

  51. Books shouldn’t be banned, they should be regulated by the parent of a child/teen. Further, an environmental argument against books is printing so perhaps they should simply be printed as demanded.

  52. Without books, there is no imagination.

  53. I enjoyed your article. Another literary rebel, Oscar Wilde, stated ‘the books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame’.

  54. Besides upholding the freedom of speech, keeping books on the shelves (i.e. not banned) makes sense from a historical perspective. Banned books invariably become less offensive or upsetting as time goes on and culture changes, and we often realize after the fact that there’s much to be learned from the most provocative books.

  55. Thank you for this article. Very informative and well written. I think that controversial books, whether you are morally opposed to the controversialities that they contain or not, are never something that should be taken off the shelves. I think that material which has the possibility to be offensive also has the possibility to bring awareness and enlightenment to readers, which is something that we need more of in our society.

  56. Plato

    Great article.

  57. I am doing a, argumentative project on this, and this article really proved my point, thank you!

  58. I have always viewed books and literature a more creative and imaginative medium for entertainment. Books should not be banned because it is up to the reader’s mind what each page is like via visualization within their imagination. Although there can be strife with certain concepts that several books have, freedom of expression should be a universal in regards to literature.

  59. I am an avid reader and frequently dispose of books by giving them away to anyone who is willing to take them.

    I’m disappointed by people who burn books because of their insecure fears that the book will create ideas not aligned with their own. But I’m mostly disappointed people burn books because they feel it’s permanently obliterating books from all shelves forever.
    That’s not what’s happening. They’re simply burning the books in their immediate area and taking away their only form of defence.

    Burning a book only eradicates the idea the book is gone forever. It’s near sighted, low of character (pun intended) and weak. On second thought, I guess it does showcase the traits of person who considers burning a book to be the end of the discussion? Near sighted, low of character and weak? Something about these character traits seems similar to those alive and burning in Germany during the 1940’s??

    (Am I on to something? Nah. Merely a coincidence…)

  60. I agree with many of the sentiments expressed in this article. If a person is to have a more educated and informed options from both sides of the field, they have to have access to the books. If a person doesn’t agree with the themes and messages of the book, they are not being forced to read it, speaking generally.

    I do believe however that books for children and adolescences should have an age restriction and a very obvious warning. The warning would still give notice to the adolescences of potential themes of the books. Additionally, if a topic is conveyed with a wholistic and age attuned approach in mind then most topics could be discussed. This still doesn’t involve banning the books leaving access as a choice of the individual choices and parents.

  61. A truly great article, and opinion. I 100% agree with you in that often books are banned due to there being an uncomfortable topic that authorities wish their citizens not to divulge. I think this is because governments or authorities in general are afraid of what these ideas might cause, or how their citizens react to these ideas. However, I think it is very important to realize the difference between uncomfortable and necessary. For example, in 13 Reasons Why, like you mentioned, the issue of suicide is uncomfortable, but it was necessary to shed light on the reality of many teens’ lives.

  62. If a parent has a concern with content and its deviance from their moral/belief system, why bother banning the book? It would be more beneficial to explain to the child why they consider the material ‘wrong’. Regardless of whether or not the child agrees with the parent, they will have been exposed to opposing viewpoints and forced to make a decision between them, strengthening critical thinking skills and promoting some kind of empathy with ‘the other side’ (which Western society could certainly use more of).

  63. carmenxbd

    I enjoyed your article. A single facet in a much larger censorship discussion, restricting ideas is definitely a slippery slope. While the intent may be well-intentioned, ideas have a particular habit of inevitably offending someone, but that hardly means we ought to ban everything. I liked your range of examples and was particularly interested in your discussion of “13 Reasons Why.” It is so true, as some other comments have also agreed, it’s not fair to ban something simply because it is “uncomfortable” or in case of a reaction.

  64. Samantha Leersen

    This is very interesting to me as an Australian – unless I am mistaken, I don’t believe we have such problems with ‘banned’ books. But, to be fair, I have not delved into that.
    That being said, at first I thought, “yes, absolutely, I can agree with ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ being banned,” and for the exact reasons you mentioned, however, you have provided an interesting insight. The discussion a book of its nature opens up is very important in today’s society.
    This article was a great read!

  65. Michel Sabbagh

    For me, books—like all artworks—represent an opportunity for one to delve into the unknown (in the artistic case, another’s mind), so any attempts to ban—or burn—books merely on the grounds of protecting a state of mind from unorthodox elements strike me as a wasted chance for humankind to more readily embrace the unknown.

  66. Leah
    0

    Thank you so much for this amazing write-up. Me and my team are having a debate this week, and we needed some fact based research and information. This really helped a lot!!

    • Leah
      0

      and I am actually a HUGE fan of 13 reasons why

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