Book Banning Andy Van Antwerp

Book banning is a largely debated problem, with many people that take it seriously, namely parents. It’s unfair that a handful of parents can ruin the enjoyment of a book for a whole school. This could be very detrimental to a student, especially if the book was formerly a part of their curriculum. Some may argue that children shouldn’t be exposed to this content, but it’s more of a parent’s job to monitor what their child is reading than it is the librarian’s.

One of the main reasons that some parents challenge books is because they want to try to protect their children from so called “suggestive” material. Even if you don’t want your child reading a book with more explicit content, it’s unfair to take it away from the rest of the school. The two most common reasons for books being banned between 1990 and 2000 are: “sexually explicit material” and “offensive language” You may argue that an elementary or possibly even middle schooler should be reading something more harmless, but something else to add is that challenges are being mainly targeted at high schools (ages 14-18). Since the majority of the books are written for that age group in the first place, it seems overprotective to try and take them away. It’s ignorant (and virtually impossible) to keep your children sheltered from everything else in the world, so it’s useless trying to challenge books anyway.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton portrays things like underage smoking and drinking, although never actually condones them.

Books teach us new ways of thinking, let us live through new experiences, and raise your general intelligence. Taking all of this away from so many schools because the events in the story shouldn’t be done by a child, only hurts the students in the long-run. Some people argue that if exposed to mature/dangerous themes in books, children will be influenced by them, and do the same. Although if anything, more mature themes in books will allow the readers to further grasp the subject, and maybe even take more responsible actions in the future. The third most common reason for banning a book is that it was “unsuited to its age group,” although many authors of challenged books express the fact that reading about something negative won’t necessarily incline you to go and do it. For example, The Outsiders is an often challenged book. This is because it portrays gang violence, underage smoking and drinking, etc. Although nowhere in the book does it actually condone that. Seeing a fictional portrayal of something in a book, hardly means that you are encouraged to try it.

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime by Mark Haddon was the fifth most challenged book in 2016.

A lot of political controversies are based around a common set of beliefs. Generally, books are challenged from a conservative and Christian point of view. Unfortunately, a lot of the time, works are restricted because they may not coincide with the public view. Like I stated before, just because a book may have material that you don’t agree with in it, doesn’t mean you should be able to restrict it from everyone. This often happens with unpopular political and religious views. Lower on the list of ban reasons, but still at a significant amount were: “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism” and “promoting homosexuality”. A good example of these kinds of banned books is The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime. This was the fifth most challenged book in 2016, the reasons being “profanity and atheism”. The problem with these sorts of challenges is that they are restricting minorities, which a lot of time takes away the result of people becoming more informed about them.

Reading is one of the best exercises you can give your brain, which is why restricting this from so many students is very negative to their education. Books can heavily influence your thinking, most of the time for the better. Trying to filter out sources of knowledge from the children in our schools isn’t going to give benefit them. We should be able to reserve the right given to us in our first amendment, and not allow book challenges to keep being accepted.

Bewitching Troubles

Dear superintendent Kovalchic, I must inform you of an ever growing problem that I’m seeing in the Northampton Area School District. You see, there are these books in the libraries. “Harry Popper,” or some other nonsense like that. The evil of the books are cleverly disguised under a “cute” plot, about a little boy who goes to wizard school. What the books don’t explicitly tell you however, is how the “Hogtarts school of Wizardry” is actually a blatant excuse for the book to preach its satanic undertones to the reader.

Kids are running around, practically possessed by this demonry! They’re constantly casting spells at each other and performing hexes on their teacher. Why, just yesterday, my neighbor was telling me about how a local boy hit his sister with a fireball! How preposterous of an idea is that!

The intentions of this book are totally and absolutely sacrilegious, which is why I am requesting one simple thing of you. That you immediately remove this filth from our school’s library. In this way, you will be able to demonstrate the correct and holy ways to our children.

Thank you in advance,

Robert Michaelson

Political Cartoon


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