I read a couple of articles today regarding books that are being banned from school library shelves. They prompted me to do a search to find out which books top the list as the ones that are most challenged by parents. Here is the list that I found.
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
- The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
I am happy to say that I have read all of these except To Kill a Mockingbird and The Bluest Eyes. I know, you can’t believe that I have not read To Kill a Mockingbird yet, but I will soon. At least I saw the film and the play.
Many of these books my children have read. In fact, the reason I read Bridge to Terabithia was because one of my kids read it and wanted me to read it also. I have to say, I think about that book a lot. Recently I was alongside a stream and the thought of crossing the stream brought back memories of the book.
As a parent, I understand the concern that other parents have about what their kids are exposed to, but I am a stanch opponent to censorship in any form. If there is something that I don’t want my child to read, I will tell my child that I don’t think the book is appropriate yet and why, but I will not presume that I have the right to make that book unavailable to other students who may be at a level where the book is appropriate.
Censorship is a very slippery slope and the support of censorship is usually a direct result of fear. So what would I do if my middle-schooler wanted read Fifty Shades of Gray? I would say that the book sucks and is not really appropriate, and that there are much better books out there. Then I would suggest some alternatives. But if my child was determined to read it, I would give permission and make myself available to talk about the book. I’d rather my kids discuss these things with me than with someone else.