Wednesday, September 29, 2010

give the gift of reading: banned books week

Reading is the best way to stay grounded.

Reading is the best way to stay grounded.

I’ve been trying to think of what to post for Banned Books Week, but none of the post ideas have worked so far. I think it’s because I don’t understand why some people think they should be able to decide what everyone else should and should not read. I just don’t get that. Seriously.
Maybe it’s my parent’s fault. They raised me to think for myself and to question what’s going on in the world around me. They also encouraged me to read. They took me to the library, gave me books for my birthday, and read books to me. They didn’t forbid reading certain books. I was allowed to choose what I wanted to read, so I read every book that looked interesting.

Mom made the chicken pox disappear when she read The Wind In The Willows to my brother and me. It was was too advanced to read on my own, but perfect to hold my attention and make me forget about itching. It’s still one of my favorite books and is my favorite memory of being read to.
Dad got upset once about a book I read that gave me nightmares (it had skeletons on the cover and I liked anything that reminded me of Halloween). He wasn’t angry with me for reading the book; he was upset that it gave me nightmares. We talked about it and he helped me to understand the things that scared me.

Thanks Mom and Dad!

I looked at the list of the top 100 Banned Books from the last decade today. I haven’t read every book on the list, but I’ve loved the ones that I have read. My life and the way that I think about the world would have been different and not as rich if I hadn’t read them. This is why I don’t understand how people think that they can tell me (or other adults or children – especially children) what they can and can not read.

So I guess what I really want to say in my Banned Books Week post is this: read. Read books that look interesting. Read books that look challenging (in reading level, in the thoughts/ideas that they put forth, or in the emotional journey they take you on). Read for enjoyment. Read for information. Just Read. And when you’re done, tell someone about what you’ve read. Books are great things to share.

The gift my parents gave me is one that anyone can give. How can you give this gift? Encourage other people to read, especially children. Take them to the library, gave them books as gifts, and read books to them, especially if they aren’t able to read themselves. Don’t forbid reading certain books or frown when their choice is different than yours. People have different tastes in many things, especially books. Let them choose what they want to read. Reading is a wonderful gift, one that will be remembered and cherished with each new book that’s read.

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