It's kind of ironic that there are actual lists of books that have been marked inappropriate for various age groups or demographics or just anyone. Because how does a culture of relativism and self-expression which denies the existence of an objective code of moral or natural law come up with a set of standards to determine what makes a book worthy of banishment?
|I support the automatic condoning of any book decried as banned by a subjective and consistently changing set of [some kind of] standards [made up by the American Library Association which has no power to enforce the ban anyway]! Rawr!|
I'm trying not to get too personally invested in the whole banned books controversy. It doesn't really seem to be worth the energy, honestly. The whole movement reeks of arbitrary standards and consequent angsty teenage rebellion (in adults). But I will say this much. Leave the kids out of it and don't do this.
Despite the existence of our culture's somewhat arbitrary standards, some books are censored for a reason, especially when it comes to a childhood audience. I love The Giver, but I don't believe it should be read by the twelve year olds for whom it was written. I think The Fault in Our Stars is one of the most important books written this century, but I don't believe it should be read by middle schoolers, no matter what John Green says. The Catcher in the Rye is an incredible exploration of the modern young adult, modern society, and the human condition, but it should not be read by depressive teenagers or even minorly suicidal or unstable adults. (However, I have nothing to say in defense of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid which should be wiped off the face of the earth and from all records of history for the sake of the self-image of any and all present and future children.) There is a reason you don't read Greek tragedy or Crime and Punishment (or The Invisible Man or Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights or even Pride and Prejudice) in kindergarten. There is a reason you don't read these things in fourth grade. There is a reason these books should not be read in middle school. Some books are censored. For certain audiences. For a reason.
And, really, there are a bunch of reasons why cracking the shells of naive middle schoolers is a bad idea, but for goodness sake don't shove literature down the throats of kids who won't be able to appreciate it just because you feel the need to rebel against society's (or the American Library Association's or whomever's) book ban. Or because you think it's your responsibility to expose the kids in your sphere of influence to the Real World. You need a better reason than that.
Because, really. Who are you rebelling against, anyway? Why do you really teach banned books?
People--kids--need therapy. Not exposure to books which are more often than not just as confused as the kids are themselves.