It is pearl clutching season again – hold on to those F bombs

This video debates banning, specifically the banning of Hold Still by Nina LaCour.

KCTV5 contacted Blue Springs School District officials about the Browns’ concern. The district said in an email that Hold Still “has been removed from the library and classrooms” pending a review by a group of teachers and instructional staff members.

The video is worth watching, and you can read the whole article here. Remember to SPEAK LOUDLY.

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Censorship Week: There’s a Book

Welcome to Bookalicious and Censorship week. We all know I am a huge advocate for censoring in your own home and leaving others to do what they wish in their own. Instead of giving you post after post of my own opinion, I wanted to bring in some other awesome bloggers to give us their take on censorship and what it means to them personally and their thoughts on what it means to us as a society. Humans through the ages have always banned, censored, rallied against, and protested anything that fell beyond their comfort zones. Whether that zone is in place due to religion, upbringing, or personal morals I have never understood the need to force others to your mentality. As bloggers we have the platform to be anti-censorship. To be a flagship of open content and doing and saying on our own blogs what we see fit. We must outwardly oppose censorship of any piece of literature, even if we are censoring it in our own homes. What if we are the next to be censored? Freedom of journalistic integrity and blogging taken away. What then?

Here is what Danielle from There’s a Book has to say.

Censorship and My Children
With the recent activity in the world of book banning and censorship, as well as a recent review I wrote, I haven’t been able to get away from this topic. So, I’m actually quite happy Pam has given me the opportunity to chat a bit about this often touchy subject.
About three months ago I read and reviewed the book Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James (You can read my review here: http://www.theresabook.com/2010/06/book-review-beautiful-malice-by-rebecca-james/). A profound book, covering topics like friendship, underage drinking and drug use, teen pregnancy, gang rape and murder, and much, much more. As an adult I found the book to be beautifully written and one I’d highly recommend to many of my friends. But upon completing the book I questioned it’s appropriateness for the young adult audience, being that it was placed in that genre. I sought out the opinions of others, friends and strangers alike, and came to no certain conclusion with one exception. Censorship, or in this case screening, is something best kept within the walls of your own home.
The books we read have a personal impact on us, individual and unique to each reader. Whether we are age ten or sixty, our reading preferences can vary from comedy to horror the way one person enjoys chocolate versus licorice. Just because I’m a chocolate person doesn’t give me the right to deny my husband his favorite black licorice treat. Nor could I deny another the privilege of their favorite author or the potential of a new book series. And even more deeply, how could I deny a person, no matter their age, the comfort and/or escape they so often long for?
Now, my children, on the other hand fall into a different category. I’m responsible for them. I care for them and hopefully teach them the things they need to know to be happy and successful in their lives. Yes, we are a religious family, in fact we happen to be Mormon. And yes, it does influence the way I live my life, how could it not? But I don’t feel my religious views give me license to inflict my beliefs on others and deny them the opportunity of making discoveries of their own. Some will argue with me on that, but that’s my opinion. If you have questions about my beliefs, feel free to ask, but I’m not going to impose them on you when you aren’t honestly seeking them out.
So how does that apply to my feelings on censorship. My beliefs as well as many of the life experiences I’ve had affect the choices I make; including what I read, the things I choose to take into my body and yes, how I parent my children (not yours). I have no more right to tell you, or someone I’ve never even met before what they (or their children) can or cannot read. By so doing it would conflict with the very core of my beliefs which center around the ability to have freedom in your choices.
Chances are, my daughter and son will not be reading Beautiful Malice until I feel they are mature enough to handle the subject matter. I grew up in a home where things like sex, drinking, doing drugs and similar topics were discussed openly and frequently. I’m hoping to carry on that tradition with my children and by so doing give them the opportunity to discuss these difficult subjects when they encounter them, whether it be in “real” life or in a book/movie. Unfortunately, not every child has the same home environment I hope to raise my children in and often books can be a huge source of strength and comfort to those seeking answers.
As someone who promotes literacy and education, how could I possibly deny a child these stories? If a parent struggles with a difficult subject and the appropriateness of it in their child, then they need to talk with their child about it and not the superintendent of the local school district. Sorry, they may “care”, but where were they when your child was learning to walk? You’ve always been there for your child, be there for them with their choices in media. Truly, if they know how you feel and have an honest relationship with you, the choice will be easy for them.

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Censorship Week: My Friend Amy

Welcome to Bookalicious and Censorship week. We all know I am a huge advocate for censoring in your own home and leaving others to do what they wish in their own. Instead of giving you post after post of my own opinion, I wanted to bring in some other awesome bloggers to give us their take on censorship and what it means to them personally and their thoughts on what it means to us as a society. Humans through the ages have always banned, censored, rallied against, and protested anything that fell beyond their comfort zones. Whether that zone is in place due to religion, upbringing, or personal morals I have never understood the need to force others to your mentality. As bloggers we have the platform to be anti-censorship. To be a flagship of open content and doing and saying on our own blogs what we see fit. We must outwardly oppose censorship of any piece of literature, even if we are censoring it in our own homes. What if we are the next to be censored? Freedom of journalistic integrity and blogging taken away. What then?

Here is what Amy from My Friend Amy has to say:

One of the things I most love about reading is that it is a low risk way to confront my prejudices. Often, going into a book, I have no idea that some of my ideas about life or people might be challenged. I might not realize that I’ll be asked to slip into the mind of someone very different from myself and feel the things they feel as they experience a variety of situations I may never experience. I really believe that reading fiction allows me to become a more sympathetic person.

This is one of the reasons I cannot tolerate the idea of censorship. Granted, I have always read what I wanted to read. It’s a freedom I do not take for granted, especially as I’m learning more and more about book banning. Censorship is a form of control that should not be tolerated in our society. Censorship is when one person or groups of people try to shape the information intake and thus the way another group of people thinks. This usually benefits a majority rules type mindset. This is particularly cruel, because books are often where we first discover we are truly not alone.

Are books a cause for fear? Well yes. Because reading by its very nature encourages thought, sympathy, empathy, imagination, and the changing of one’s mind. If you are seeking a world uniform in thought, a world that is grey, where injustice goes unnoticed, and everyone is exactly the same then books are the most terrifying objects there are. Books contain the the story of us, of all of us, humans working out our different situations through artistry, trying to make sense of the messy, holy, mystery of life. But no book is a simple object and no reading experience invites a uniform response. Each individual responds and reacts to what they find in the pages of a book in a way that is unique to them.

Living in this world is hard. There is no reason to make it harder by trying to control the way we think, by barring books that express a different worldview from ours from the shelves, by robbing ourselves of the chance to feel a little more human compassion for one another, to feel angry by injustice, to feel empowered to realize we are not alone. Can’t we put aside our fear and instead open our ears and start talking to one another instead?

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