By Erin Grisham
A Publishers Weekly article about the censorship of children’s books in the U.S. got me to consider what’s more important: fostering curiosity, or protecting our nation’s young minds. More importantly, how can we do both?
Earlier this month, the New York Public Library held a panel to discuss the ongoing censorship concerns in schools. Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, says that a new trend of censoring books for high school readers has emerged. “If literature is not acceptable in high school, it’s not acceptable anywhere,” Bertin said.
Robie H. Harris, author of sexual health book It’s Perfectly Normal, says an unintended result of the trend is that it can cause authors to censor their own books. This could certainly inhibit the creative process and sharing of information.
According to Charlotte Jones Voiklis (granddaughter of A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L’Engle), another unintended result is that making subjects forbidden makes them all the more appealing to kids—a belief with which I agree completely. As a child, when something sparked my interest I would do anything to learn more, and most kids would probably do the same. Although the good intentions are there, censoring doesn’t appear to have the desired effects. Perhaps it's best left up to families to make decisions about their own children's reading materials.