More news about the documentary is coming soon. But in the meantime, I thought I would go off on a tangent that I’ve been going down lately in amongst all this planning.
Book censorship. Banning. Challenging. These are a bunch of words that have been tossed around a lot in the last 30 years (and of course, much longer) while their definitions and the power they hold can vary a lot from one person and usage to another. On one extreme you have Communism, dictatorships, and Fahrenheit 451 (a title that has become synonymous with the censorship cause and yet is quite misunderstood). On the other hand you have objections to what and when children are introduced to different books and media. Somewhere in between all of that you ideally have a reasonable debate about literacy, choice, education, responsibility of schools and libraries versus parents, and a host of other related topics that feed into the topic. This isn’t easy. And I don’t think it should be painted entirely as black and white.
Again and again as I’ve gone through my research and read through comments online I’ve come across misconceptions or just questions regarding book censorship.
“They must not be banned since I had them in my school.”
“They scared me to death in first grade, so maybe they shouldn’t be in schools.”
“Why is the government banning books? That’s crazy!”
“Why are schools banning books? That’s crazy!”
Believe it or not, all of these comments and questions allude to some basic misconceptions of what it means for a book to be challenged or banned in a school or library. Although it’s okay to have these questions and thoughts, I think it is important for people to learn more about the topic. Together we can have an informed discussion and maybe come to some agreements on how books like Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark should be on our library shelves.