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Censored

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I checked in at the Booking Through Thursday blog, which is the host for a weekly book meme or blogging prompt. Here is this week’s prompt:

I think most of us are probably against censorship on principle, but … do you think it should vary depending on the impressionable age of the readers? Or is it always wrong? How about the difference between ‘official’ censorship by a government or a school system, as opposed to a parent saying No to a specific book for their child?

When I started high school, the school district made a step forward to remove Lolita, Lord of the Flies, and Crime and Punishment from the censorship list. Surprisingly, some parts of the country now seem to go backward with an even more extensive banned book list in school. You can read this comprehensive list of banned books that shape America. I suppose since schools are buying the course materials, they have the right to the extent of what should be purchased.

The greater responsibility shall befall parents, who are and should know if their children are ready for sensitive materials. Certain books are not suitable for readers until they reach a particular level of maturity—but this line is difficult to draw because each child is different. Parents should know what their children are ready for and that they should be supervising their readings.

Racism, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit scenes, gritty topics like suicide and drugs, and talking animals, are all listed as valid reasons for challenging books. When it comes to young adult fiction, though, there’s another reason: all the books appearing on the list have been deemed ‘unsuited for age group’. I believe that teen books should not be banned. Teens also deserve the right to choose what to read and what not to read. Too often teenagers are treated like fragile, vulnerable people who need to be protected and shielded from everything horrible in the world. This is not the case. Teenagers may have developing minds, but books help to shape it. Imagine our new generation being blinded to issues in homosexuality, racism, and global violence because some cowardly conservative bigots decide the teens shall be led astray, the future of society is grim.Do we want to raise kids in an unrealistic bubble?

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