While classrooms are where children’s developing minds need to be exposed to controversial opinions, dark subjects, and hardships of the world, in order to be more well rounded and empathetic, the interference of offended parents and teachers who want to shelter their children often gets prioritized in our school systems. Here are five modern banned books that many children will not be able to access the worlds of, and why we need to protest these decisions.
1. The ‘Harry Potter’ Series by J.K Rowling
Criticized heavily by highly religious organizations for promoting witchcraft, the series has been banned in many private schools across America. In 2019, a Catholic School in Tennessee banned students from checking out the series, due to the fact that one of the pastors who helps run the school felt as if the content and message of the books “conjured up evil spirits”. Rowling has stood up against acts of censorship like these, stating that many have deliberately misinterpreted her work.
2. ‘The DaVinci Code‘ By Dan Brown
Also controversial for religious reasons, The DaVinci Code was banned in Lebanon in 2004 for its material regarding Christianity and depictions of sexual scenarios. Catholic leaders called for this ban, asking for copies in all languages to be removed from shelves in bookstores. The plot was seen as offensive to many, because it depicted the biblically inaccurate event of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene fathering a child together. However, many publishers, bookstore owners, and citizens fought against this decision, feeling as if art was being silenced, and defended the book by saying it was merely fiction.
3. ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian‘ by Sherman Alexsis
Partially based on the author’s life, the coming of age novel follows the story of a young Native American boy, Junior, and his struggles while attending an all white school. The book has been highly controversial for its depictions of violence, underage drinking, gambling, and death. Many school systems have held the belief that its depictions of sex are “encouraging pornography”. However, a high school in Wisconsin voted in favor to keep the book on shelves after in had been challenged by many parents.
4. ‘The Curious Incident of Dog in the Nighttime‘ by Mark Haddon
The mystery tale, which depicts the experience of a fifteen year old autistic boy who investigates the death of his neighbor’s dog, was pulled from a summer reading list in a Florida school system after parents complained about the use of foul language, especially for using the Lord’s name in vain. However, Haddon seems to not be too phased by this decision, saying that he believes that incidents like these can open up conversations about freedom and language.
5. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
One of 2017’s critically acclaimed, best selling novels, which depicts the story of a black girl witnessing the death of her friend via a white police officer, was banned in a school in Texas following parental complaints. Apparently many were “appalled” by the depicting of drug use and foul language. Librarians later protested this decision, with 19 of them signed a letter challenging the superintendent’s choice. Thomas has spoken out against the ban as well. She believes with this choice of censorship, many students are unable to have an open discussion about relevant racial tensions in America.
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