Why I Want to Read Banned Books

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Back in the Dark Ages called my 8th grade year, I participated in a banned book competition.  The teams were given trivia about specific books and — bzzz! — we had to buzz in with the correct title or author.  One book I was asked to read was Animal Farm, and it shocked me to my core!   The academic team coach, Mr. Price, was my favorite teacher of all time.  Looking back through a teacher’s eyes, I appreciate what he risked to expose his class to banned books.   The idea of banned books encouraged me to challenge ideas and think for myself. Even now, almost 30 years later, I want to read all of the banned books.

My personal beliefs lean on the conservative side.  Still, I’m grateful to live in a country where I have the freedom to read (and think) about all kinds of topics.  Consequently, the freedom to challenge books is also a freedom called upon by many parents, religious groups, and human-rights advocates.  It’s an interesting chain reaction — when someone challenges a book, the discussion spurs many people to read it. For me, it’s about choice. I probably won’t want to read Two Boys Kissing but it should be available to people who do want to read it. After all, it doesn’t explain how to break laws or cause anyone harm.  During my childhood and teenage years, I enjoyed reading many challenged books.  Judy Blume was an author who wasn’t afraid to tackle blush-worthy subjects, and The Scarlet Letter seems antiquated in today’s divorce-ridden era!

Topping the banned book list is one of my favorites: the Harry Potter series.  I was a new-ish teacher when this book hit the bestseller lists, and I vividly remember the quibbles people had over the idea of witchcraft, sorcery, and children being targeted by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.  To me, the premise didn’t seem so different from fairy tales.  Cinderella had a fairy godmother with a magic wand, and an evil stepmother who was determined to cause Cinderella as much pain as possible.  One of my colleagues dreamed up a huge reading unit based around the Harry Potter series, and our principal (and parents!) supported us.  Only one student opted out, and she ended up joining the book group after a few activities.  We had so much fun teaching reading with this popular book.  The controversial ideas were never a problem for us after the initial launch of our book study.  To this day, the Harry Potter series brings back wonderful memories of teaching children to love READING.  The content didn’t matter nearly as much as their excitement to learn! .

I’m so lucky to be a reading teacher.  My students will use their reading skills for their entire lives.  Mr. Price encouraged me to read the books on the graphic below (and more!)  He taught me that books contained power, and that’s an understanding I hope to pass on to my students. It isn’t my goal to put banned books in their hands; instead, I just want them to love to HAVE a book in their hands!

One lucky Savings in Seconds reader will win a $10 Amazon gift card (sent via email) The giveaway is open to readers worldwide, ages 18+.  The hop ends 9/30. Void where prohibited by law. Good luck!

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  1. I believe that people should have the right to read these books, whether they choose to or not.

  2. I think it is important to read whatever you want when you want to read it. Books should not be banned.

  3. Michelle Hooper says:

    No books should be banned ever

  4. shouldn’t ban books

  5. maria cantu says:

    In my opinion, if you want to read it you should be able to.

  6. Burma Turner says:

    I think any adult should be able to read anything they choose!

  7. No one should ban books.

  8. I think everyone should have the freedom to read the books that they prefer.

  9. I love Harry Potter. Can’t believe all of the great banned books!!

  10. Teach your children to be afraid of a book and you teach them to be afraid to think.

  11. I’m Surprised what books are banned.

  12. rochelle Haynes says:

    Should not banned no books just put a age limited on them

  13. I agree there should be no bans on books. People need to have the option to read what they want.

  14. I agree should not ban any books

  15. Aldous Huxley is one of my favorite authors. I’m sure the banners decry him!

  16. I don’t understand banning books. We should be exposing people to all sorts of ideas and talking about the controversial ideas they bring up!

  17. Jodi Hunter says:

    It is our right.

  18. Robin Blankenship says:

    I have always been fascinated why books get banned or challenged.

  19. Sarah Kurtz says:

    Books should never be banned! I love to read and now my kids are also learning how to read and enjoying every moment of it.

  20. Insane to ban books.

  21. Jennifer Rote says:

    Books should not be banned. Crazy that Harry Potter is on the list.

  22. Patricia Brewer says:

    I’m stubborn. I don’t like people telling me what to do, or what to like. That’s why I generally ignore subjective reviews and bans of many types. Parents have the duty to teach their children right from wrong, yes. Basic morals are the same for everyone. But parents have differing opinions on what is acceptable to expose their children to and how to use those as examples to teach with. Take it away and you take valuable teaching tools away from parents.

  23. Robin Abrams says:

    I believe that people should have the right to read any books they want. The government is taking over way to much

  24. I don’t understand banning books, just don’t read them. I love books!

  25. Thank you for the giveaway!

  26. Banning books will never work, I’d rather a good regulation.

  27. I don’t think any book should be banned.

  28. Proud to say at least one of those is on my sons middle school reading list this year!

  29. I cannot believe these books are banned. So sad!

  30. Jerry Marquardt says:

    I believe that everyone has their right to read any book they choose, as long as it is just reading.

  31. Seyma Shabbir says:

    Banning books is stupid. We have freedom to choose what we read!

  32. Debra Holloway says:

    I think that writing and publication need to have even their limits, for instance I am for banning child porn.

  33. I think this is a controversial topic for a good reason – each side of the argument has good points. We can cause harm by banning books, but we can also cause harm by not banning books.

  34. Soha Molina says:

    No book should ever be banned. We have free choice.

  35. Thank you for the giveaway!

  36. Karley Moore says:

    I believe a parent can censor what their child reads, but government should not.

  37. In this day and age, it seems like people are so offended at the smallest things and now even at our history. I think we should teach our children what is right and wrong…then give them the freedom to decide on their own.

  38. Richard Hicks says:

    No books should ever be banned.

  39. Adrienne Gordon says:

    Books aren’t meant to be banned.

  40. Shannon Baas says:

    You ban books, you make more people want to read them. I have read a number of these.

  41. Banning books never works. All banning does is increase the desire to read those books

  42. Banning books is not the answer. We should all have the freedom to choose what we read!

  43. I’m a firm believer of free speech and I don’t believe books should be banned

  44. The sharing of ideas should never be impeded. Individual should decide what they do or do not read.

  45. I am shocked at so many of the banned books. I loved reading the Diary of Anne Frank as a young teenager, and still find it fascinating. We love Harry Potter in this house and I’m just happy its something that young adults want to read!

  46. I surprised, you see worse things on prime time tv

  47. I feel all adults should be able to read what they want. I don’t want someone telling me what I can or can’t read. It is my choice.

  48. I really don’t understand why many of these books have been banned. A few of these books I had to read in high school. I am going to read what book I want to read and then I will decide if I want to like it or not read it again.

  49. Debbi Wellenstein says:

    I love that Fahrenheit 451, a book about burning books, is frequently banned.

  50. Reading opens up people’s minds, helps critical thinking skills, makes people question authority and the status quo. Banning books is dangerous to any society that values freedom.

  51. Thanks for the chance! I love your site.

  52. Lara Maynard says:

    One of my favourite banned books is Memoirs of a Geisha.

  53. It’s sad that books are still being banned in 2017. Thank you for the giveaway
    Sue @ Crushingcinders recently posted…Adding to Your TBR September 2017My Profile

  54. I don’t think books should be banned. Just add an age limit as to who can read

  55. I don’t understand the need to ban books at all. If something is inappropriate for a child than let the parent decide, as for teenagers they are more than capable of choosing for themselves.

  56. Julie Waldron says:

    My favorite banned book is To Kill A Mockingbird.

  57. This is the first year I’ve not done a banned books display at my school library where I work. But I put up a display with LGBTQ books for ALLY week instead, so I’m sure I probably have some of those books on there. Thanks for the giveaway!

  58. The idea of people banning books is so ridiculous to me that I forget it’s a thing that happens.

  59. I’ve never understood why books are banned.

  60. Jeanna Massman says:

    I do not believe in Censorship. Thoughts and ideas are so precious.

  61. susan smoaks says:

    Books shouldn’t be banned. No matter what the content.

  62. beth shepherd says:

    Banning books is just wrong on so many levels.

  63. I didn’t know that some books were banned. It’s sad to learn this.

  64. Jessica Whitehouse says:

    I have read several banned books, including 1984, The Giver, Lord of the Flies , and the Hunger Games series. My favorite challenged book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

  65. Cheryl Chervitz says:

    They are having a banned book week at our library this week. I think its a shame to have any book banned.

  66. I don’t know why any of these books are banned!!!

  67. can’t figure harry potter, hey it’s make believe!!!

  68. Joanna Peter says:

    The Harry Potter books <3 My mom didn't want me to read them growing up, so it wasn't until college that I read them.

  69. Susan Smith says:

    I can’t believe these books are banned

  70. Kathy Pease says:

    When books are banned it makes you want to read them all the more

  71. One should never have the choice of reading an item removed.

  72. Brandy Schwartz says:

    I don’t believe in banning any books. It’s just another form of censorship and a way of controlling the masses.

  73. Banned books are usually better 🙂

  74. Brandy Jones says:

    I believe it shouldn’t be allowed to ban books because of someone else’s idea of what is acceptable. No one is forcing anybody to read what they don’t like. A banned book makes me want to read even more just because it’s banned.

  75. Banning a book is equal to refusing free speech, which is not only integral to our democracy but also very poorly understood by many–which has been made very clear by actions in this past week.

  76. Stella Methvin says:

    Harry Potter is my whole families favorite series and I cannot believe they take away books that spark the imagination.

  77. A book never hurt anyone, the concept of banning literature seems ridiculous to me.

  78. Shouldn’t ban books – let everyone choose

  79. It’s all good!

  80. Katie Bellamy says:

    If you don’t like a book or don’t want to read one, don’t! Don’t tell others what they can and cannot do!

  81. Everyone should have the right to read what they want to. It is only through reading we can broaden our minds and imaginations. A book becomes “bad” when one takes what is written to such an extreme it twists it based on their own issues and thoughts.

  82. Jillian Too says:

    I’m always surprised by great books that are banned.

  83. I think people ban books because of fear. As a society, we need to read banned books because they help us expand our minds.

  84. Books should not be banned.

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