Censorship Causes Blindness: READ!

There are many celebrated weeks of recognition throughout the year. Teacher appreciation week is acknowledged in May. Breast cancer awareness is remembered throughout October. National fishing week captivates us in June. Yet, there is one that is often overlooked; the last week in September is set aside to evaluate the merit of banned books.

The general public may not be aware of the book censorship plaguing our libraries and classrooms, but “book burning” is very much alive in America today. Censorship of literature is born out of basic fear. Citizens recognize the use of certain buzz words or uncomfortable themes, and they throw the baby out with the bath water by condemning literature based on out of context issues. Controversy stems from the fact that we as a nation are comprised of individuals with very diverse in experiences, ethics, and cultural standards. Together our goal is to educate children and encourage them to acquire the skills and knowledge needed to become industrious, autonomous citizens.

When we start telling people what they are not allowed to read, personal learning opportunities are impeded. Renowned author Ray Bradbury said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” This horrific phenomenon is bread out of the best of intentions in sheltering our children. Many of our most loved authors find their works on the 100 Most Banned Books List due to fear and control issues.

My challenge to you, as a now informed citizen, is to do your own research concerning the validity of these claims and start an honest dialogue with the youth in your life. Let’s retain the enthusiasm for reading that kindergarteners exhibit, upon the realization that they have the ability to read, by cultivating a fertile soil in which all books are given equal opportunity to nourish future readers. Celebrate the freedom to read as granted by the wisdom of our forefathers in the constitution. Stand up for intellectual freedom and partner with me in developing lifelong leaders in our community.