Banned Books This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The topic of banned books and censorship is one that has been debated for a very long time. Since the beginning of public education, parents have complained about what their children are being exposed to in school. Ideas promoting law-breaking, sex, drugs, the use of profanity- all of these topics run ramped through schools across the country. Sometimes it seems as though parents are looking for any reason to get into a quarrel with the administration. However, many of these parents have good reason to be upset.

While reading should be a source of enjoyment and an engaging way to learn, there are also times when there needs to be a tab placed on just what teens are allowed to read. The majority of the banned books seen on this list are books I have heard of, read myself, or heard of classmates reading. Of the nine books I have read off this list (The Perks of Being a Wallflower, To Kill a Mockingbird, Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret, Of Mice and Men, Brave New World, The Kite Runner, Speak, Summer of My German Soldier, A Wrinkle in Time), five were required reading books, and three were options to choose from for a required reading assignment. While many of these books were great to read, there were some surprising topics discussed in a few of them that I was not 100% comfortable with. But, this could have been due to the fact that I was only in middle school and had not been exposed to half of the things I have been exposed to in high school. These are understandable picks for banned books for children younger than high school age, but to ban these books and keep them off bookshelves forever seems to be a bit much. It is important that teens be exposed to some of the ideas in these books, not to promote inappropriate behavior, but to educate teens about what is going on in the world. Whether we want to admit it or not, there are some pretty awful things happening in the world. We can try to shelter and protect our children, but they will be exposed to the real world eventually, and if they are not prepared or educated, that could be far more dangerous than reading a book with some rude words in it.

While I don’t believe any books should be kept off public library shelves, I do believe some more discretion is needed when deciding what books to suggest to students, depending on their age. The majority of books that I read on that list I read in middle school, and some of the content is a bit mature for a seventh-grader. Of course, not everyone is as conservative as I might be, or maybe some people are more conservative than I am. It’s impossible to please everyone or to make a change for every person that complains. Students should just be encouraged to read with a mature attitude, and to read more objectively.





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CanadianRose This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm
Where I live you never hear about book banning in libraries or schools. I didn't think people still did that. I've always thought that all books should be avaliable and it's up to the parents to screen content if they're concerned.
 
yourewrite replied...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 9:44 pm
I thought the very same thing you did until my english teacher drew this to my attention. The New York Times did an article on banning books and it is actually still happening in libraries today. I agree that parents should help judge what their kids are reading, but some libraries are taking that responsibility upon themselves.
 
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