A young boy sits in the corner of a schoolroom, a coat on his lap. He looks under it intently. He looks periodically toward the door and sighs contently when he sees it remains shut. His quiet is soon interrupted when a teacher loudly opens the door and, seeing him sit there, comes over and taps him on the shoulder. “Young man,” he says, “What are you doing in here?” “Nothing, sir,” he says, his voice trailing off. “Is that right?”

The teacher looks at the student and scrunches his eyes partially, nearly closing them. “What have you got here?” he says, lifting the coat off of the student’s lap. It is a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie, a book that was banned by the school for sexual content and language. The student is quickly taken to the principal and a decision is made to suspend him for a week.

As far-fetched as this scenario seems, it is not too far off from reality, where books are regularly banned. Take the children’s book King & King, a Dutch story that was translated into English and published in the United States in 2002, where it was quickly protested by parents who did not want their precious snowflakes to read a story about a king of a country who found his soulmate in not a queen but rather another king. Strictly speaking, its sale could not be stopped but parents petitioned libraries to move it to the Adult section.

Parents around the country have been protesting JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in The Rye” from the time it was published and have not stopped. The book has been called filthy.

Even the classic “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain has had its share of scrutiny and has been challenged again and again in this century, the last one, and even the one in which it was published. It is largely considered a brilliant novel.

The best thing to do to combat the insanity of banning books is by reading them. Make it a point to encourage those you know to take a few minutes to indulge in one of these fantastic works of literature.


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