Sophia Castillo | staff writer
This week was Banned Books Week, an annual event since 1982. Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. Every year, it spotlights current and historical attempts to ban books in schools and libraries.
Books are often banned for reasons such as perceived racism, violence, LGBTQ+ content, unpopular religious views, sexual content and profanity.
Book banning is an issue because it limits people from forming their own opinions about uncomfortable topics. It also closes doors to important conversations. Books are not only used to inform readers, but also enhance one’s imagination and open their mind to new ideas. When people read books they make text-to-self connections. Reading helps people escape to a new world and also feel accepted. When books are banned, that bans someone’s story.
You may think that book banning isn’t an issue in our community, but that is not the case. Recently in Saint Marys, city council member Matt Childs made a proposal to ban library books with explicit sexual, racially or socially divisive material, as well as anything that promotes the LGBTQ+ ideology or practice. Critical race theory of any form would also be included in this ban.
In our school library we have a handful of frequently banned books including “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Great Gatsby.” In English class students read a few of these books, along with “Of Mice and Men,” “Maus” and “Persepolis” which are also on the banned book list.
Kristin Berroth, media tech and librarian at Wabaunsee High School, has not had any issues with these books in her library so far. “They shouldn’t be banned (the books), you should be able to read whatever you want, and it’s a personal choice on whether you want to read a book or not,” Berroth said about banned books.
A lot of the reason books are banned is because of parents. Parents can and should still monitor what books are appropriate for their children, but they should also stay out of what other children are reading. Make limits on your own child, don’t limit someone else’s access to books.
To celebrate Banned Books Week, it’s a great time for a trip to the bookstore or library to check out a book that someone, somewhere doesn’t want you to read.