This week is banned books week. As of right now, I’m applying to graduate schools to get my masters in Library Sciences so I can become a fully certified librarian, so banned books are close to my heart. Frequently. Because I carry them in my arms, tightly, in fear that someone might snatch them up from my possession. Because they’re banned.
Okay, I’m being a little dramatic.
But seriously, some of the most important books in my life that I have read have been banned books. These are the books that explained to me how other people feel in situations I’ve never been in. Books that open my mind to new experiences and life lessons. Books that allow me to travel when I didn’t have the money for a plane ticket or even gas. And it upsets me profusely to think that we are limiting the infinite possibility of those who will soon come to be the workers of the world. Especially considering how many friends I have that didn’t go to college, and lacked access to incredible books that were banned from their classrooms when they needed them most.
Like Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. One of the most honest books on suicide I’ve ever read. It made me ache and relate in so many ways. My personal encounter with suicide is not one that I write about, but Thirteen Reasons Why writes out what many people cannot even bare to discuss, let alone write. It’s a book that I feel many teens should read, to help understand how powerful actions and words can be at tearing down a person who has faced too many bullies in their lives. It’s heartbreaking, but it’s important.
While The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth has not officially been banned to my knowledge, it did undergo a distinctly distasteful and unfair removal from a high school reading list in Delaware. This book is very honest and painful. It’s written beautifully, and I read it twice the first year I bought it off amazon. It makes me thankful I have such understanding parents, and helps me examine how tough it has been for some teens as they are forced to come out of the closet in situations they never wished for themselves. I worry that this school district will not be the first to ban this book.
There is the ever so popular Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book has been holding a place on the top 100 banned books for many years. It’s a scarring book, to be honest. But I also had to read Lord of the Flies by William Goulding (also frequently banned) when I was in high school, which is just as painful, and I turned out just fine. In fact, I think it gives kids a chance to open their eyes up to how important friendship is, and what it means to need more help than you can ask for in life. And, for those of you who have only seen the movie, the book has a lot more to it. Trust me, you should read it.
And One of the most Influential book series I’ve ever read: Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. This series showed me that some of the best friendships go through tough times, but last forever. It taught me to do what’s right, even if I’m the last one standing, and the odds are stacked against me. It made me realize that you don’t need magic to overcome darkness, but the courage to face the darkness in our lives with the belief that we will make it through. There’s no way I’m going to keep these books from my future children. They need these stories to feed their imagination, open their minds to what they can accomplish, and teach them how to be strong in the face of destruction.
While there are MANY other books out there, I just wanted to list a few to spark your interest. Perhaps you should question how many banned books you have read. Perhaps you should invest your time into reading more. And perhaps these books have, and will continue, to open your mind. This is what a future librarian hopes and dreams for. Open Minds.