Banned book week celebrates freedom of reading

Banned book week celebrates freedom of reading

Francesca Messerschmidt, Staff Writer

Schools across the country are celebrating Banned Book Week this week.

Banned Book Week is typically celebrated in late September to early October every year. According to the American Library Association (ALA), “Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.”

“(Banning books) has taken a lot of literature and censored it,” media specialist Heather Cox said. “It’s not allowed people to read some really awesome books.”

There are many reasons that a book may be banned in schools. 

“A sensitive topic, always has been, always will be, is religion,” Cox said. “People get really concerned with content that they feel devalues their morals, which are often faith-based.”

Many classic books have fallen victim to being banned in school libraries.

“When Harry Potter first came out, a group of parents went before the school board,” media specialist Beverly Alvey said. “They withdrew their objections after talking to the school board, as long as the school labeled it as mature content.”
The ALA says on their website that Harry Potter is most often banned due to talks of witchcraft, and “‘nefarious means’ to attain goals.” 

“My favorite banned book would probably be ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’,” sophomore Ansley Plumlee said. 

Harrisburg does have cautions in place to avoid bannings.

“Labels have been our way around some areas that people are uncomfortable with,” Cox said. “We always make sure that on the cover of the book that it’s kind of identified. Ultimately, we have high school kids so they have to be responsible for what mom and dad are going to allow them to read; that’s not our call.”

Libraries are not the only place subject to book bans. Many classrooms also face bans. 

“I have had parents raise questions about books, but I’ve never had a book banned,” said English teacher Cathy Wall. 

Some books are banned despite their themes being important. 

“I love ‘Fahrenheit 451’,” Wall said. “There are so many relevant themes in that book.” 

In the end, it is a parent’s decision as to what they think their child should read.

“The parents of younger children sometimes want to protect their children, but by the time the kids are in high school, that ship has sailed,” Wall said. “They are exposed to far worse every day than what we are going to teach in a book.”