Disclaimer: I don’t usually get political or even too deep in this blog but this is something I feel very strongly about.
I consider myself a pretty conservative person. I have strong values and beliefs that I live by and teach my children. This being said as a librarian not all the books I buy reflect my own personal beliefs and values.
When I started my library career I lived in a bubble. I thought everyone grew up in the “Leave it to Beaver” type family I grew up in. I had no idea that children go to bed hungry and alone. Throughout the past 10 years I have learned a lot about life and about myself. Because of some of these realizations, the types of books I buy in my library have become more widespread.
In Blue Springs, Missouri, (just a short drive from here) some parents looked at what their freshman daughter was reading and they got mad. They went to the school and asked that the book be banned from the library. They went a step further and asked that several books from the Gateway Award list be banned.
You can see the news article here.
Here are the issues I have with all of this…
In my experience , it doesn’t seem as if the parents have even read the book in it’s entirety. Yes, there are cuss words in this book but I don’t think that they are out of context and I hate to tell you but I’m sure our kids hear those words in their every day lives whether it be in movies, at the community center or with their friends.
When I was younger, my mom wouldn’t allow me to watch many movies that my friends were watching. She didn’t think they were appropriate for me. That is her right as a parent. It is not her right as a parent to decide what an entire school should watch. That, my friends, is taking people’s rights away.
As a sibling of a soldier, I used to get very offended when students would not stand to say the pledge because it was against their religion. My brother said something to me that I will always remember. He said, “I go fight the war to protect their right to not stand up.” I might not agree with their beliefs but they have just as much right to have the beliefs as I do my beliefs.
The bright side about this book getting so much publicity is that it will make more people read. I have heard other authors say that when their books get banned, their sales go up. So go out and read Hold Still and get your own opinion of the book instead of just listening to what one set of parents believes.
Unfortunately teen suicide is an issue. If this book helps one child find a reason to live, I think it is worthwhile.
I found the author’s response on her blog to be very interesting. Please read it here.
The moral of the story is that there are tons of great Young Adult books out there that are about tough issues. Kids are reading these books and sometimes it might be the one thing to help them through a tough situation or for them to see another alternative to whatever struggles they are having.
Feel free to tell your kids what you want them or don’t want them to read. Please instill values and beliefs in your children. Please don’t take other people’s rights away by deciding what they can read.
In case you were wondering, the correct protocol in this situation is for the parent to file a written complaint and then the school district would form a committee to review the book and see if the complaint has any value. The book should remain on the shelf until the final decision is made. Blue Springs initially pulled the book from the shelf as soon as the complaint was launched which is actually against policy but I have been informed recently that the book has been put back on the shelf until the committee makes their formal decision. FYI