This week, we’re celebrating Banned Books! You know, the ones that people complain to libraries about. The ones that concerned parents say are “too advanced” or not “age appropriate.” We’re celebrating these extremely important and often controversial books that lead young people to have insightful conversations about mature topics. Yes, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn may use language that many of us find repulsive, but it also gives incredible insight into the history or race relations in this country. Yes, Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye might spend most of the book trying to lose his virginity, but it’s also the story of a journey that speaks to teens on a very personal and real level.
These are the classic banned books. These are the ones that have been controversial and debated for years. We all know these books, and hopefully we’ve all read them. It would be super easy to give you a list of really amazing banned classics, and tell you that we should be celebrating these things. We should be applauding when kids pick them up, not trying to hide them away. I could definitely do that.
But instead, I think that this year we should concentrate on children’s books. That’s right. People don’t just get angry about teens reading content that seems more geared towards adults. People get plenty fired up about the picture books we show our littlest ones. They say things about the “impressionable youth.” They worry that we’re indoctrinating children with viewpoints before they’ve had time to figure out their own.
I say that kids need to hear about these opposing views. They need to see people and perspectives that are different than their’s if we ever expect them to come up with viewpoints at all. And sometimes, they just need to be able to laugh at a little potty humor! (Yes, people try to ban books because of crude jokes.)
This year for banned books week, let’s celebrate the children’s books that get challenged and questioned. Let’s support the books banned from the very youngest readers. Here are a few of my favorites, and why they should be in your home library right now!