I believe literacy is important and every child across the world should be reading. It is where they learn, develop vocabulary, identify different writing styles, and so much more. However, there has been a recent push to ban certain books in schools across the nation. This ban has strategically targeted books by Black and LGTBQ authors, or books that contain information or messages about race, racism, LGBTQ, etc. While these topics can be controversial and have been politicalized, parents should have the final say on what they want their child to be exposed to.
To be honest, growing up in grade school, we read so many different things ranging from a variety of topics, and it was all enlightening and I learned a lot. So what has changed? Why is everything becoming political? And why is K-12 becoming the forefront of the conversation around the nation when there are other issues we can focus on? It was noted by PEN America that 25 percent of the bans were tied to political pressure.They want to talk about K-12, okay, what about school shootings? Why haven’t we seen any legislation or more political pressure regarding that? We live in a world that will ban books but not assault rifles that have left many kids six feet under. This is a problem. None of us are safe, and our kids are not safe. Banning certain books on the shelves of different school libraries is the least of my concerns.
If this is such a great concern, then let parents decide and sign a waiver for their child to be able to read about these topics. There is a way to do this without banning them. To me, it is all about approach. How can we approach these topics that don’t force an agenda, but educate and inform students about it in an appropriate manner. I will say that there are certain books that are for certain grade levels, and that should be recognized. But everything else, let the parents decide.
I appreciate the work that PEN America is doing to track this movement and to document everything that is going on about these issues. According to their website, PEN America “stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.” Let these kids read and let parents be parents.