Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Go Read A Book!

Banned Book Week is coming up.

As a former Book Chick, this is a big deal to me. I worked for years in book stores, catering to the needs and desires of the book-buying public. My favorite time of year was always the time when we would haul out the tables and pile them high with books that had been (or currently were) banned.

Now, under the First Amendment, we have the freedom of speech and by proxy, the freedom to read pretty much whatever we dang well want. But plenty of parents and community members all across this great land have decided over the years that they know much better than anyone else what is right and appropriate to be sprinkled into the minds of others.

I don’t have a problem with parents choosing to opt out of allowing their kids to read things that they disagree with. I would prefer that parents talk over the books with their kids and help the kids decide whether they are appropriate. Instead of playing the martinet and demanding their wishes be fulfilled, it always seemed to me that it would be more effective if the child and parent discussed why a book didn’t fit into a family’s moral codes and go from there.  But I’m a realist and I know that there are plenty of parents who prefer to make those decisions on their own. Whatever. They’re your kids, do with them what you will (legally, of course).

My problem is when these same self-righteous parents decide to tell me that I or my children shouldn’t be reading something because it’s “bad for us.” You may wear blinders all you want, but I prefer to make my own choices, thankyouverymuch. I will decide what my children consume, entertainment-wise, and I don’t need any busybodies butting into that decision. My kid plays video games, but my husband and I have talked about which ones are appropriate for him to play. My kid watches movies and TV, but we have discussed what he does not need to see. He is just getting going on the reading front, but when the time comes for him to choose books himself that don’t involve the Bernstein Bears or a Dr. Seuss character, you can bet we’ll be talking about those as well.

Check out these links for videos, BBW merchandise and just plain old good information:

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