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Book Banning This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     One of the principles that makes this country great is our freedom to say, write, and read whatever we want. Yet countless people are attempting to restrict our access to certain books, even removing some from library shelves. They cite reasons ranging from explicit sexual content to the promotion of witchcraft and the encouragement of violence. Book banning has become so common recently that the last week of September is known as Banned Books Week, when a list of the most frequently banned books is compiled. There have also been lists of frequently banned authors, as well as most banned books of the decade. What is interesting about these is that many of the books are classics.

Take a quick look at any of the lists and you will find such world-famous authors as J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salin-ger, and Mark Twain. Some of the banned books are often required reading in schools, indicating that these books have been judged appropriate for young people time and again, yet some continue to try to ban them. Since people most often attempt to remove books from schools, those who want to ban books are often parents concerned about their children. Of course, nothing is wrong with parental concern, but parents are often overprotective and misinformed about the content of these books. At a certain age, students should decide for themselves what is appropriate. In many book-banning cases, the concerned parent hasn’t even read the entire book.

The list published during Banned Books Week also includes reasons the books are banned or challenged. Some reasons (promoting violence or racism) have been used constantly over the years. Since the early ’90s, an increasing number of books have been challenged because of their sexually explicit content, possibly because books now seem to contain more of this, but it is likely that parents are becoming more concerned about what their children are exposed to. If the books in fact contained explicit sexual scenes, then keeping them from young readers makes sense. The problem is that in many cases, the sexual content is not explicit. In the majority of the cases, school boards refuse to ban the books, occasionally only restricting them, due to inefficient evidence.

This year the Harry Potter series topped the list of most banned books. That series doesn’t have explicit sexual content or promote violence. Many who attempt to ban Harry Potter ignore the fact that the books have encouraged many children to fall in love with reading. Instead, they accuse the amazing series of such outrageous things as promoting devil worship. They say that these wonderful books confuse children into believing they can do such evil things as sorcery. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books several times, and have never been encouraged to become a witch. Like many book banners, opponents haven’t bothered to read the whole book, but instead make accusations based on rumors skewed by their personal beliefs. There are cases where restricting a book is warranted, especially certain ones that have content inappropriate for young readers. However, book banning has reached a ridiculous and illogical scale. If Harry Potter can turn me into a devil worshipper, where does it end?


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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ConstanceContraireThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 7:22 pm:
AWESOME, yeah I just read, if I feel uncomfortable reading a book I stop and start over when I am older :)
 
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Luna4Ever said...
Dec. 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm:
My school thinks that the banning of books is outrageous. However, we have two bookshelves with a title on them that says Banned Books that show us what books have been banned in other schools around the country. Many of my childhood favorites are in there, and that is just preosterous.
 
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mea lea said...
May 9, 2013 at 9:31 am:
Dont we have a freedom to read?
 
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layla said...
Apr. 29, 2013 at 9:36 am:
in 4th grade i had read all the good books in the liberary. i was going to read HP but the teacher said no and gave me a book i all ready read!
 
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iWriteForFoodThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm:
I completely agree! My elementary principal banned the Twilight books when I was in elementary school (sixth grade), and she had never even read them!
 
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AriShine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm:
AGREED! Thankfully, I go to a school where the banning of books is banned, so on 'Banned Books Week' the librarians let us see what books have been banned by other schools. I am always shocked. Thank you for writing this!
 
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KatsKThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 9, 2012 at 5:00 pm:
I totally agree. Why take the time to ban books? It's just restricting people from finding out what the world is really like. At my school, almost all of the books that we read in middle shool have been banned, such as Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, Of Mice and Men, The Call of the Wild, et cetera. As Oscar Wilde says, "the books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame". He is completely right on that account; and some of my favorite books are ones that have been... (more »)
 
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Archangel1410This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm:
My school just rolls its eyes at Banning Book's week. Basically, adults now just want that "Perfect Generation". They ban the book because of crap they got from their friends or stuff they read on the internet. Another reason is the thought that we cant handle what is talked about in these books. Maturity basically. It is BS. 
 
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Wanderingspacefish said...
May 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm:
I agree that this book-banning should stop. Amazing and immaculete pieces of literature are being pulled away from eager eyes that won't be harmmed by them. It's a shame, really.
 
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calleysings said...
May 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm:
i believe that banning books is simply denying the children of america with the information that they need to succeed in life. i can honestly say that several of those banned books have changed my life. i read the great gatsby two weeks ago, and i literally can't stop thinking about it. books open up your mind and expand your thinking! i say NO psycho book banning.
 
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Jadey said...
May 5, 2011 at 6:47 pm:
I love this article and I looked up a list of banned books and they have banned a dictionary which I think is a step to far. I have read all the harry Potter books all of twilight and alot of other books that are being banned and I think that there alright also reading levels do suck. At my school since are english teacher understands that it should be about intellectual reading level we take a test and that gives us are reading level.
 
calleysings replied...
May 5, 2011 at 7:50 pm :
i believe that banning books is simply denying the children of america with the information that they need to succeed in life. i can honestly say that several of those banned books have changed my life. i read the great gatsby two weeks ago, and i literally can't stop thinking about it. books open up your mind and expand your thinking! i say NO psycho book banning.
 
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theatercamper1212 said...
Aug. 24, 2010 at 11:50 am:
The ending shocked me a little. But your article is really good! I agree with you I have read all the Harry Potter series as well and their isn't really anything that bad in the books. Parents can be concerned about what we read but if you are just reading Harry Potter or even Twilight then I don't see the problem. The horrible thing out of Harry Potter is that their is kissing in the books. Which I really don't see why the Harry Potter series is the #1 banned book on the list I f... (more »)
 
T.R.Trevino replied...
Jan. 25, 2012 at 7:22 pm :
I agree with your sentiment about Breaking Dawn over Harry Potter. Don't get me wrong, I like Breaking Dawn as much as any girl interested in vampire books, but I think only mature young readers should read it. If someone can't yet handle the implication of love making, then they shouldn't read it. Harry Potter is very tame compared to Breaking Dawn, all they do is kiss.
 
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GabrielleFantasy said...
Aug. 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm:
I had never seen anything wrong with the Harry Potter series, I never even knew some people weren't allowed to read until my friend told me she wasn't. I seriously don't believe Harry Potter is a devil-worship book. I'm Christian, and I LOVE this series. Besides, having a wand and being able to make things float is NOT the witchcraft people know of. Also, Harry Potter is a great books for kids, and teaches valuable lessons.
 
PunkAtHeart replied...
May 1, 2011 at 9:57 am :
Book banning is like book burning.  It's just wrong.  I am a little confused about the end but good article
 
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whispersofthenight said...
Aug. 2, 2010 at 11:42 am:
I can understand if you're keeping serious stuff from little kids, but this sounds like too much. I totally agree with you. Great job.
 
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J. Rae said...
Mar. 1, 2010 at 7:30 pm:
Harry Potter is an excellent book for all ages. It never promotes worshiping the devil! In fact, if you look close enough the books have lots of things that revolve around Christianity . And the worst part in the whole series is probably kissing.
 
Inspiration replied...
Jun. 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm :
Well said! My community has spread the rumor that even the Lord of the Rings books are based on devil-worship! I have a feeling that the Narnian series are next!
 
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Dandelion said...
Feb. 7, 2010 at 5:09 pm:
This was a very well-written article, and I agree with you completely. Banning a book only makes people want to read them more! I read J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye recently. The worst scenes merely had a bit of explicit language (nothing worse than the f-word) and a glimpse of something racy from a hotel window. Even Roald Dahl's Matilda was banned! The worst word I could find in the book was "resent."
 
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