In Writing

banned-books-weekHad to click, didn’t you? Curiosity is perhaps our greatest asset as humans. We think that weapons and military might make us strong, but, really, it’s ideas that give us power. That’s why it’s paramount to a free society that we have access to whatever information we want, even if someone else considers it offensive or wrong or worthy of suppression. One of my favorite reminders? Banned Books Week, which starts today.

I have always held to the parenting principle that if my children were old enough to ask a question, they were old enough to get an answer. This led to a few uncomfortable explanations for Mom from time to time, but for the most part created young adults secure in their understanding that they’re entitled to the information they want. It’s not for me to coddle and police their thoughts, it’s for them to undergo their own intellectual exploration of the world at their own pace.

Many of us think of banned books as something that happened a long time ago, or under oppressive regimes. But the fact is that books get banned in the United States every day. It’s done for religious reasons or issues of “propriety.” Unfortunately, it happens to diverse titles disproportionately.

So this is Banned Books Week, started by the American Library Association and Amnesty International in 1982. It celebrates our freedom to read, and draws attention to challenged books, and highlights persecuted individuals. Because it’s always important to remember that our freedom is directly tied to our access to information.

Click here to learn more and celebrate the freedom to read.

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