Happy Banned Books Week!
I love Banned Books Week for so many reasons. I don't believe in the institutionalized censorship of diverse voices and ideas, I don't believe there should be any censorship but self-censorship, and I don't think it's such a terrible idea to expose yourself to multiple arguments and perspectives about any subject.
So in honor of Banned Books Week, I'm going to be sharing my favorite banned books--one banned book a day with an anecdote about why I love that book. Enjoy!
Oh, Harry and your wily ways. It wasn't your fault the teachers at my fundamentalist Baptist elementary school told me to leave you at home.
I remember experiencing the first pang of censorship in 4th grade. I was an honor student and made all A's. I finished my classwork much earlier than I was expected to turn it in and to keep from disturbing my fellow classmates, the teachers suggested I read. And I did. So you can imagine how taken aback I was when they reprimanded me for reading Harry Potter, saying, "You can't read that! This school is attached to a church and those books are of the devil! You can't enjoy reading about witchcraft unless you've rejected God!"
I remember staring at them blankly because I didn't recall rejecting anything except them rescinding their request for me to read. I wondered if they would've made such a fuss had I been reading, say, Cinderella. Bippity-boppity-boop? Still witchcraft, folks. But when I continued to read the Harry Potter series and my books were confiscated, I went home crying to my mother, who gave the principal an ear full. I somewhat remember hearing her yell, "You should just be glad she's reading for fun! I send her to your school to get an education and you take books out of her hands?!"
I got my books back the next day. Thanks, Mom!