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Banned Books Week: Giving students the freedom to read

kr2rp1002 [1]One of the organizations on the front lines of book challenges is The Kids’ Right to Read Project [1], a collaboration between the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and the National Coalition Against Censorship. It is stunning to me not only some of the books it has joined the battle over, but the reasons advanced to ban some of the books. Here’s a sampling of its cases from December 2006 to May 2008:

Now I understand some parents want to strictly control what their children read. Although I may not necessarily agree with them, that is their choice. As I’ll talk about later this week, both the Sioux Falls School District and Siouxland Libraries allow parents to restrict what their children read. What they try to avoid is what I find most offensive with the efforts above — the parents and organizations in these cases are trying to prevent access by anyone in the school.

That is the problem with banning books. Your freedom to decide what you and your family will read does not give you the right to tell me or my family what books we can have access to and read.

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won’t have as much censorship because we won’t have as much fear.

Judy Blume

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