Why do I read banned books? Because I can. Because, thankfully, I live in a country where they don't tend to go in for book banning so much, and so I can go into bookshops and second hand shops and find books and I don't buy them because they're banned books but because they're books that I want to read, and because everybody should have the right to read the things that they've decided they want to read.Please Stop 'Celebrating' Banned Books Week, Kelly Jensen, Book Riot,22/09/2014
As a child, nobody ever told me I couldn't read anything. My parents are fairly strict Catholics and there was restriction in our house on what TV we were allowed to watch, but never once in any of our many and extensive trips to the library was I ever told I couldn't read something. My mum actively encouraged me to read from the adult section once I got bored of the children and teen sections, and she was always more than happy to discuss whatever I was reading with me. My dad's really into non-fiction and is very knowledgeable, so while my mum's the big talker in our family I did also go to him with questions that had been raised by what I was reading and he would always take the time to talk with me. To me people who ask to have books removed from schools or libraries because they don't want their children to have access to it are people who are scared of the conversation. I think that's terribly sad. I've said before that banning things or not talking about them doesn't make them not exist and I feel so strongly that our children should hear about the scary things which can happen in the world from the people they love the most and feel the safest with - hopefully their parents. Although there's no way to make the horrible and scary and sad things that happen less so, if you take the time to talk to your children and educate them on what they can do to help/stay safe/avoid situations then that can only be positive.
Thus this year, as every year so far, I've reached the same conclusion; the importance of Banned Books Week is the conversation. Challenging censorship is about having the freedom to talk with each other and with kids about things that may make us uncomfortable, but which will help them in the long run.
This year, for the first time I actually read the book I meant to read for this event! I bought The Outsiders a few years ago because it's one of those seminal teen books people are always talking about, and always quoting the movie and I had never read it. If you're like me, you should go read it now. It was fantastic. Read my review here.
And so, because of all the things I've just been talking about I'm running a giveaway. Because it's all about the freedom to choose what you read, the prize will be your choice of one book from the top 100 Banned and Challenged books from 2000-2009 (click on the title to get the list). Where it says series, pick one please! :-p To enter all you have to do is fill in the form.
If you tweet about the giveaway you will receive an extra entry - please mention me (@fairybookgirl) in your tweet so I know you've done it!
I will draw one winner on Sunday evening, good luck!