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

     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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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."
upsidedownpineapple said...
Nov. 4, 2009 at 3:21 pm
i agree completely. i hated reading and anything that had to do with putting effort into something. recently i read the harry potter books and fell in love with hermonies attitude. even though shes fictional, i use her as an inspiration and i LOVE to read. how dare people even think to ban harry potter!
songo05 said...
Jun. 19, 2009 at 6:09 am
The censership of books and/or movies is one of the one things i truly hate. When someone trys to ban a book from the general public becouse they think it is inaprpiate is absured. If you dont like the book you think it has "influencils" contents dont let your child read it. its as simple as that. Some great novels are "grit lit". they are not inapropiriate, pretty much every kid knows all about that stuff any way. I do and I'm 11!! That just goes to show how daft people are. Another thing I... (more »)
J. Rae replied...
Mar. 1, 2010 at 7:40 pm
I hate reading levels too! I was always ahead of my class when it came to reading. When I was in third and fourth grade my teachers wouldn't let me read Harry Potter because it wasn't my "Reading Level". Instead they gave me a fifty page book, which I finished before I left school.
I read the fifth book(around 850 pages) on my own in less than a week(which is pretty good for a nine year old).
I totally agree that reading level shouldn't be based on your age, ... (more »)
Chrissy L. said...
Jun. 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm
I completely agree. I recall seeing a news broadcast a while ago talking about the book "TTLY", a book written entirely in IMs, and its banning. The reporter was claiming it was exposing young people to inappropriate sexual content and the broadcast featured a mother who protested the book's availabitlity in her daughter's school. I have read this book, it did not have any "sex" in it. The worst was about one of the characters (Zoey) who was in a hottub with a man who liked her. Yet they m... (more »)
Nytesahde replied...
May 5, 2011 at 6:43 pm
I agree with that I read that book and i'm shocked anyone would ban it that book actually helped know what to do about teenage problems and what good friendship is like
Theresa S. said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 7:00 pm
Ohh and if anyone is look for any kind of book they can't find in store's then you should look on or they sell pretty much everything and they sell it cheap.
Theresa S. said...
Jun. 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm
I totally agree with you most people act very stupid when it comes to some books, I am a wiccan and have been since before I ever even heard of harry Potter or any other witch, or wizard books, so yes I agree with everything you've said 100%. And I love your article.
Amyyy said...
Feb. 16, 2009 at 3:32 pm
Yes, I totally agree with you! I can't even find any christopher pike books anymore, 'cause they are all banned! I think kids our age should decide what we want to read. If the book really is that bad, then i'm sure we would all feel kind of guilty of reading such a book and eventually put it down. (Very good writing!)
destinee said...
Jan. 5, 2009 at 1:22 pm
Not everyone thinks like you. Not everyone has your judgement. I'm sure (and I've read all of the HP books and am not a devil worshipper) that it must have influenced some impressionable children, and then what do you do? I see your point, of course, but you don't have any proof that they haven't read the whole series. It DOES make sorcery sound fun, there's no doubt about that.
CruxClaire This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm
It makes fantastical sorcery sound fun, but Wiccan witchcraft and voodoo, the most commonly practiced forms of witchcraft in the actual world, are nothing like the sorcery in Harry Potter. A Wiccan ritual has nothing to do with waving a wand and shouting "expelliarmus" or "accio."
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