You’re banned! 

It’s ‘Banned Book Week’ where we celebrate (?) all the books which have been banned in different countries. The banning of books is always a contentious issue, as parents demand the right to guide or shelter their children from certain topics or issues, or governments try to suppress the spread of ideas. I’m always surprised when I see the list of ‘Banned books’ as some are now much-loved classics such as ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, ‘1984’ and even (although I wouldn’t called it a classic!!!) ‘Twilight{. Most recently there has been a discussion about banning the ‘Horrid Henry’ books.

One author who has dedicated her career to Judy Blume. For many of us her books were a right of passage growing up, teaching us everything about friendship, romance, periods and yes, even the ‘first time’. Due to her frank discussion on all these topics, her works have been criticised, and at assorted times banned by patents and even governments but Blume has never backed away from her assertion of authors rights to write and children’s rights to read, with no topic deemed unsuitable. This article in ‘A Mighty Girl’ they discuss Blume and the impact of her work.

What do you think? Should certain books be banned? Should topics such as menstruation or sex not be written about for young people? Have you banned your children from reading certain books or authors? Should the banning of books be done by the government or should parents be allowed to decide? It’s a contentious issue so let us know what you think!


2 Comments

  • Matt Doyle

    September 29, 2017

    Personally, I wouldn’t ban Horrid Henry. As the article said, he does actualy do what he’s told in the end. On top of that, certianly in the cartoon, I actually have more of an issue with some of the other characters (such as his mum’s blatant favouritism).
    In the end though, it does come down to parental discretion. You know what your kids can handle and understand, and what will make them act in certain ways. To me, a better action would still be to discuss the changes in behaviour with your child and try to help them understand the differenc between real world behaviours and entertainment.
    When it comes to being banned due to topics though … it really doesn’t help in my eyes. Take ‘Tango Makes Three’ (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And_Tango_Makes_Three), the true story of two male penguins that adopted a chick together. It’s such a wonderful way to explain homosexuality to kids, entirely age appropriate, and beautifully ilustrated. Yet it was censored and listed as controversial in different places.
    And if you find that a book genuinely holds a bad message? That can still be useful. Use it as a tool to discuss topics and issues, help children form opinions and understand the world. Banning a book simply sweeps things under a rug, and in some ways, makes the titles more intriguing to the readers you’re trying to keep them from.
    That’s my thinking anyway.

    Reply
  • Geri

    October 9, 2017

    Thanks Matt
    It’s a very emotive subject isn’t it and one which doesn’t have an easy answer. Personally, we try to use books and Tv shows as teaching tools (‘wasn’t that kind/brave/unkind of….’ etc) and ways to open dialogue about issues and situations, but our LO is too young for Horrid Henry at the moment so hopefully we’ll continue. The only exception is Peppa Pig, but that’s mostly because we didn’t want to have to buy lots of pink, piggy tat 😂
    We recently watched ‘Captain Fantastic’ which wasn’t quite what I expected, but one scene in particular stands out, where the older children are discussing the book ‘Lolita’. One of the younger children starts asking questions and the father answers them in a very clinical manner. Ultimately the scene is played for laughs when they realise the younger child doesn’t know what sex is but for me it showed in importance of being honest with children and not shying away from topics but discussing them in an age appropriate manner.

    Reply

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