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Readers Respond: Should children's books and books for teens be censored? Who should do it?

Responses: 31


To ban books is like burning freedom

To ban books is like blocking freedom of thought and expression. I just viewed a documentary on Hitler and burning books. This to me is horrid - to ban a book rather than letting we the readers and educators have the right to bring forth creative thoughts.
—Guest Pompeii

Let parents be parents

As institutions no longer act "in loco parentis", then how are parents supposed to monitor every single books their kids read or are exposed to? I have 2 avid readers, and how exactly are parents supposed to monitor every thing they read or run across in the school library? I think the school library should at least be a "safe haven" (at least up through high school) where the hot-button issues are avoided (I think we all know what they are). People can still access whatever they want through bookstores, public libraries, etc. This is not censorship, or banning, which is done when government entities prohibit an item from being published. School libraries don't need to provide every weird book ever published.
—Guest Librarian

About that First Amendment...

Kids have rights. It is unconstitutional to ban books. Honestly people! My library has no banned books at ALL!!! It's time to speak up against this crime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPEAK UP!!! I am a kid and we have rights to access whatever books we want.
—Guest Whitney123

it happens in life, why not in books?

I believe that books should not be banned. Take, for example, The Bluest Eye, banned for sexual references. Rape happens in everyday life, so why cut it out for talking of it? And Huck Finn, taking out the "n" word. The "n" word makes the story what it is. That is how Twain intended it to be and it should remain that way. If people really have a problem with them, then they need to make sure their kids don't read them; do not ban them from everyone else.
—Guest donna.. a student

Banning of Books

No book should be banned. Parents should be the ones to censor what their children read. If the members of these committees do not want the children they know to read certain books then keep them out of their reach, but don't impose your right to censor or ban on others' rights to read and enjoy!!!!!

Parents are the monitors

As a library worker, I support the comments of readers that parents are reponsible for monitoring what their children read. If a child was truly disturbed by a book, the parent should read the ENTIRE book and talk about the issue with their child at the appropriate time. It is important to keep the issue in the context of the book's plot, and within the context of the problem/time period in which the book is written. Am I right that a key discussion (i.e. racism, drug abuse) that happens at the right time can be a cause of growth?
—Guest Tina

Horror and Thrillers for Young Children

I have a child who comes home from school library with books that a would be front page news nation-wide if it happened in real life. It is not good to desensitize a child to graphic language describing choking, stabbing with daggers, and other excessive forms of torture. A young child's brain is not yet able to process. I am not talking fairy tales of spells and daggers. These are far more extreme.
—Guest Carly

Why ban them? Some people like them

Some things are meant to be banned, and some aren't. Books are not meant to be banned, because some people like them. Just because some people think it shouldn't be in public libraries doesn't mean they're right. I think books can't be banned.
—Guest jacob

The Role of Parents

I have been an avid reader for years. I was nurtured by my grandmother who told me I could travel by reading. This encouraged me to travel around the world through books, and I have since actually done so. I feel as though parents should determine what books are suitable for their younger children and monitor what their children read per their maturity level. This is to monitor their character building, morals, and values as the adult sees fit. I also would encourage parents to go to the library to see where their children's interests lie and encourage them to grow intellectually.
—Guest brendawomack2010@hotmail.comwh

Decide for Your Own Kids, Not For All

On the list of the most-banned books you will find wonderful, thought-provoking classics such as Brave New World, To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn, as well as many contemporary works. It is a shame and a travesty that a few parents are able to keep these books out of the hands of readers because of their own intolerance. I would never deny parents the right to decide what their children should read, but they do not have the right to make this decision for other parents.
—Guest Guest Susan

Hypocritical Thinking

To put it in the shortest of terms: Books (that are being banned) aren't allowed to be "sexually explicit", "violent", etc, but yet these same children are allowed to play games like Halo and Call of Duty, and watch shows with the same levels of violence, sex, and adult themes on TV. Where's the censorship for Cablevision? Or your local news station for that matter.
—Guest College Student

You Can't Build a Wall

Sexuality, violence and explicit language are a few aspects of the human experience which we are all confronted with. Banning books that include these things in them does not stop youth from having negative experiences. Since we cannot build a wall around life, we should not try to limit access to the tools children need to understand it. These tools are books. Knowledge is power. Reading about tough issues helps kids cope with real life situations and make informed decisions.
—Guest Shelley

Banning Books Is Not Right

To start, I work for a public library and it really infuriates me when I hear of someone who wants to ban a book just because they want to keep their child or other children away from exposure to the material. Every book is a good example of everyone's freedom of speech. Even though a book may not be suitable for the parents' standard it isn't fair to keep it away from the other kids who would like to read it. Almost all the books that usually appear on a banned book list are the "classics". But please explain to me why more children read more then than they do now? I think the parents need to get over themselves and just don't pick up the books and leave them where you found them, on the shelf.
—Guest Colby

Where are the parents?

Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Harry Potter are all fiction, and the parents should explain this to the child they love. I was told the difference between Superman and my uncles and father.
—Guest donald g singer

Not their Call

Books should not be banned by institutions. Let the parents be responsible for their own children's reading material. I was almost 17 before my mom stopped censoring my books, but they shouldn't remove classics just because they might be offensive. It all begins with that. Then what will happen to freedom of speech? They don't censor TV or news, or radio barely, minus the cuss words. The world is not a perfect place. Therefore, books cannot be so either.
—Guest Emma

Government run entities are not parents

It is a parents responsibility to guide their own minor children toward adult responsibility. They do not have the right or responsibility to decide for other children (or adults) what they may be exposed to. Nor do government run entities have the right or responsibility to act as censors in place of a parent, or for that matter, for anyone. Every US citizen from the youngest, w/ parental assistance, to the oldest has the constitutionat right to decide for themselves what they will expose themselves to in the form of fictional and nonfictional media (ie, literature, tele- vision, radio, theatre, art, etc).

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