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I wrote and spoke here yesterday about the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, which was out with its annual list of what it calls its Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books - which is to say books that have been formally challenged in writing by citizens or groups because, according to them, the content is inappropriate.

I was amazed that there are people out there who think that “To Kill A Mockingbird” deserves to be challenged. Or “Brave New World.” And while I’ve not read the books, the “Hunger Games” trilogy? Really?

One MNB user wrote:

My wife and I were on a road trip this week, driving from Minneapolis to Richmond, VA. While 20 hours in a car presents some challenges, one thing we enjoy about these trips is the opportunity to unplug and just talk, without all of the distractions of daily life. Among the topics we discussed (including MNB!) were great literature and film. I mentioned that trying to pick the greatest film of all time is an impossible task; however if I were forced to choose just one, I'd go with “To Kill A Mockingbird.” My wife agreed (!) and commented that everyone should read this book and see the film. Both remain just as powerful, moving and relevant today as they were fifty years ago. As to the news that some are proposing to ban the book? As Atticus tells Scout and she later reminds him, "It would be a sin; sort of like shooting a mockingbird."

Another MNB user wrote:

I cannot understand anyone that wants books to be banned…or “challenged”.

I have 4 daughters. It is hard enough to get kids to read; much less, try to dictate what they should and should not read. I have never taken any books away from my girls nor do I try to prohibit anything from them. I do challenge them after reading the book to tell me what they got from the book and help understand fact vs. fiction, acceptable vs. unacceptable thoughts and ideas, and general thought provoking conversation from the books.

My older daughters have read The Hunger Games, and have gone to the opening night showing of the movie. Like many that read books and then see the corresponding movie, they were very critical of one venue over the other. My daughters even dressed as characters from the book when they went to the movie.

I think that reading more books is better for a child’s education, and that NO BOOK should be banned. Each time that a child reads a new book, their mind is opened a little bit further, and helps them to understand even more. I might even go as far as saying that some of the “Challenged” books should become REQUIRED reading so that young minds can understand why they are being challenged and allow them to make their own decisions.

Is this not what we strive for in raising our children?

MNB user Steven Ritchey wrote, referring to one of my memories:

My dad was a great guy, but he would never have taken me to see Easy Rider, or any other R rated movie for that matter.  The last movie he took the family to see was Nevada Smith, and never went to see another one because of the “language” in the movie.  I was very young at the time so I didn’t remember any “bad language”, so  years later, I caught it on cable, eagerly anticipating what made him so upset I sat there appalled, I  heard worse language than that on my elementary school playground.

Your dad was an educator as I recall, so just maybe he saw in taking you to see Easy Rider a way to create a memory for his son, and a way to connect with the students he educated every day.

From another MNB user:

Interesting…How about the folks who have edited out all the "objectionable" language from Mark Twain's classic, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”We now have administrators and teachers in our schools who do not have the leadership ability to discuss "words" with their students.  Political correctness run amuck?

And from yet another reader:

How terribly sad!

At least “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury was not on that list – although I bet if the complainers were aware of it, they’d challenge it as well.

For me, the people who try to ban books are no different from the people who burn books. And we all know what kind of people those are.
KC's View: