Celebrating the Freedom to Read
September 27–October 4, 2008
-Linda Campbell, Star-Telegram Staff Writer
My topic this week is Banned Book Week. My plan is to introduce you to some of the books on the list, and encourage you all to protect your right to read these books. It is always ok to choose not to read something you find offensive, or to keep your children from reading something that goes against your values. It is wrong to keep others from enjoying those same books if that is their choice. I am not advocating all books be read by all people, just that all people have the ability to read them if they should choose.
The first book committee I had to sit on was for Huckleberry Finn. I remember sitting in a room and having flash backs to the first time I read Huckleberry Finn. The lumps in my throat, the sadness and anger at the treatment of a man; the realization of how much racism occurred under our noses still stings when I think of Huck Finn.
I blindly looked up at a loving woman who didn't want her child to feel the sting of the words in the book. I told her that if we didn't see where we'd been how would we ever recognize it if it happened again. She didn't want her son to feel the pain associated with those words. I can understand that. Luckily, the book was kept in our school and I was able to teach it to my students, but this one child was given an alternative assignment. I hope, now that he's an adult, he's read the book.
If you have the opportunity to read Huckleberry Finn I suggest that you sit down and enjoy Huck's journey down the Mississippi with Jim. While Huck tries to run away from his life he learns about Jim's struggle as an escaped slave attempting to reunite with the family he loves. Huck first views this man with the eyes of the society of the time, but he finds out that the stereotype and the man are not the same. Eventually, Jim becomes the father figure Huck so desperately needs. This is a wonderful book that everyone should take the time to read.
Take a little time this week and read one of the challenged books I've mentioned. You'll enjoy a great read and you'll be ready to defend our intellectual freedom during Banned Books Week.
BANNED BOOKS WEEK
September 27 - October 4, 2008
Keep checking back, I'll discuss more books on the challenged list, and give you more ideas on how you can support our right to read.