Random Thoughts #4

I haven’t done one of these in awhile so I thought it was about time that I talked about something that really bothers me in the book community: book burners.
I don’t mean in the physical sense of book burning (although just imagining people throwing books into the flames of death, makes me shudder with horror and revulsion). No, what I mean is people (generally parents) who believe they should sensor what their kids are reading, or that some books should be banned from libraries, schools, etc.
I was sort of raised on the idea that book burners were these horrible, vicious, group of people who’s intent on the world was too get rid of books that are considered “unsuitable” for a certain age group. My dad was actually the first one who called my attention to the name “book burner”, and he is as against these people as I am. 
When I first explored the book community on the Internet a couple years back, I quickly learned about Banned Books Week, and that other people were also against this idea of banning books. It’s always a great moment to learn you’re not alone in your opinion of something, especially when it has to do with books, and especially on the Internet, where people can get meaner quicker than a group of wild dogs. 
It sort of sickens me that some people out there would want to hide, as they call it, “sensitive topics” from young adults. That is the exact WRONG idea. How else are teens supposed to learn about these topics? From first hand experience? No. So, really, these books that adult figures want to keep away from teens, should be used as teaching tools to show that certain activities should not be ever done in a teens life.
For example, the Crank series by Ellen Hopkins deals with drug abuse. After reading the first book, Crank, I realized how horrible it is to be addicted to meth. The way she described what the characters was going through sounded truly horrifying and just awful. It put into perspective what it’s really like to be addicted to meth and helped me realize (even more, because I never even thought of doing meth prior to reading Crank) that I should never, ever, do meth, or any other types of drugs. 
But there’s other topics too, like sex and alcohol that parents want to keep shielded away from their kids. Guess what parents, same idea for these topics. Let your kids read the darn books! Let them see the consequences of what happens to the characters who decided to drink and have sex. More often than not, in a book will also dive into the end result of both activities, and the characters realize what a horrible mistake they have made.
I did some research before writing this Random Thought and I realized there is a pattern for books being banned. Most books are either banned due to high references of the above topics (drugs, sex, and/or alcohol) or for being “unsuitable for age group”.
Well…what age group is it suitable for then? If a topic is that horrifying to you then you have a very skewed version of the world. You cannot let your kids live in a perfect little bubble. They have to read about true events that happened and then reflect and store the information for later, to recall back on in case they are ever in a situation where they might have to make a life-changing decision (like maybe a decision to avoid drugs).
Here’s some examples of books that are considered “unsuitable for age group” (wow, every time I write that phrase I hear it in my head with extreme sarcasm, and vehement disapproval)
1. TTYL series by Lauren Myracle (I’ve read this and it’s funny, witty, and overall just fantastic. And, I read it in middle school. It’s meant for high school kids. So it was, as they say, “unsuitable for age group”. But look at me now, I haven’t made any horrible decisions because of it!)
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Haven’t read it yet, but I can’t wait to. It’s on my wish list, oh, and it’s being made into a movie, so I guess your efforts at banning it have been less than successful)
3. Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer (We all hate this book and most of us are probably glad that it’s banned anyways, so I wasn’t too disappointed to see it on the banned books list)
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (This is a book that my school district had every single grade level read for summer reading. How do you like that book burners?)
5. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Frankly, no pun intended, I find it disgusting that this book is banned. This girl grew up in Nazi Germany hiding for her life. How many of us can say that? Upon more research though, I learned that one of the most common reasons this book is banned though, is because it is sad. Sigh. What is happening to the world? I can’t even type this with a clear sense of mind because that angers me so much)
And that’s only 5 books! They’re are 100’s possibly thousands more, that are challenged and banned every year!
Ironically enough, whenever I hear about a banned, or heavily challenged book, it gives me more reason to, first of all, purchase the book so I can support the author and publishing company that had enough sense to publish the book, and then take it home and read it. It’s my little dorky rebellion that makes me feel good inside. And then of course, I would come on here and brag about how I read the book and how much I loved it. So, book burners? Hahaha! (That’s me laughing in your face)
Disagree with me all you want, but nothing can change my mind that book burning is wrong (although I’d love to hear the other side of the argument. Rebuttal anyone?)
See you soon!
Oh, and P.S. to any book burners who are reading this…I hope I made you mad.
Comments are much appreciated!

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