27 Sept 2013

Banned Books Week: A Teen's Perspective

Today I’d like to discuss a hot topic that’s been on everyone’s mind recently: Banned Books Week. With the week drawing to a close, I’m here to share my thoughts on the matter so for anyone interested, here’s my teen perspective on the subject. I look forward to reading your comments below!

Books are glorious things, but books that deal with issues and push boundaries are even more so. Teen reading and YA should be praised and celebrated from the roof tops, not discouraged. So why are books still being banned and challenged in today’s society?

Banned or not, books of all types should be able to be read, loved, appreciated and furthermore, create discussion. I’m not an expert on banned or challenged books, I’ve only read a handful or so, but from my experience, they are some of the best. They make me think and question and ponder and ask questions - and in my opinion, that is one of the greatest things books can do.

Who knows? Maybe they think that by banning these books, that will be the end of it; gone; rid of. But these issues that are raising alarm bells amongst the pages won’t just magically disappear from the world because a certain book has been taken off the shelf. These issues are real and they are happening all around us and in my opinion, books are the safest environment for them to be discussed in, especially if along the way, we pick up a lesson or two (not in a preachy way, those are annoying) or are able to learn from characters mistakes.

Teenagers want to read about other teenagers and be able to relate. We don’t want to read about unicorns and rainbows (even though those are cool. Yay for unicorns!) we want to read about characters and situations that we can relate to or see ourselves in or draw experience from. Most importantly, we want honesty, truth and to be treated like grownups and YA authors offer us that and is hands down, one of the best things about Young Adult.

Banned and challenged books are something I think should be discussed, not just during the week it’s allocated but constantly, year round. Hopefully one day, banned books will be a thing of the past, but for now remember to support banned authors, read challenged books, continue to create discussion and share the magic of reading.
Banned Books Week is the national book community's annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2013 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 22-28.  Banned Books Week 2014 will be held September 21-27


  1. Censorship has always been an issue that has been near and dear to my heart and which I've rallied against in all forms, so I really appreciated reading your thoughts on Banned Books Week! When it comes to censorship and the banning of books, I think the root cause is often intimidation and fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of concepts some might find challenging or difficult. But ignorance should never be the answer. As you mentioned, often times the books that are banned are some of the most beautiful and powerful of all. They discuss important topical issues relevant to today's society like racism, homophobia, sexual assualt, etc in an authentic, realistic way that challenges us to see these problems from an entirely different perspective. While perhaps not palatable to everyone, these novels can also act as the catalyst that creates an open dialogue about such issues and, ideally, inspires change in others.

    I think what annoys me most of all about these small-minded, ignorant groups that aim to ban certain books is their unique ability to misunderstand or purposely misinterpret a novel's true message. Often times they pervert or distort it to suit their own personal agendas, and in the process they do a disservice to both the book and its author. Thankfully, I take comfort in the fact that the novels that are often banned and receive the most negative press are also, ironically enough, the books that receive the most attention and see a rise, rather than a decline, in sales. Controversy will always breed interest, and I have to laugh that these groups often have the reverse effect than they initially intended.

    1. YES to everything you said. It's fear and small minds that can't handle these big ideas being portrayed in such an honest, raw way that is the cause of banned books. As you said, banning and challenging these books won't stop us in our tracks, if anything, it will only raise sales, make the book more public and well known and make us want to read it even more. Thanks your sharing your thoughts, I agree with everything you said!

  2. I couldn't agree more. The books that have the longest lasting impact on me are those which I find to be confronting or those which make me uncomfortable for some reason or another. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!