Throughout history books have been banned and burned.
From “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to “Alice in Wonderland” to “The Catcher in the Rye” and the Bible itself books have, for various reasons at various times, scared the beejesus out of people.
How can mere objects (and I don’t say ‘mere’ as in unimportant, insignificant or inconsequential – as a bibliophile those would be sacrilegious words to use in relation to books!) be so frightening?
While some books do blatantly address political or sociological themes of the day in an effort to incite change others are simply flights of fantasy that those with no imagination read into (no pun intended) what they will with their tiny minds. (And really, if a book was the only tool to covertly educate and reform how people were thinking about and dealing with issues of the day in whatever country what does that say about that society? Either a) it’s an extremely undemocratic and unfair society where inequality and limited freedoms reign ergo a country that can never grow and progress or b) if it was a somewhat democratic country, but people were burning or banning those books – refer back to point ‘a’.)
Worse still, are the adults who read a children’s book and condemn it for adult-size ideas when there’s no way an eight year old would ever deduce such intricate and philosophical themes like blasphemy (the talking animals in ‘Charlotte’s Web’) or playing God (‘Frankenstein’. All any kid would focus on here would be the possibility of Frankenstein’s monster showing up at the most inopportune time – you know, like under your bed when you’re trying to sleep…).
(Check out this list of children’s books that have been banned at one time or another. You might be as surprised and puzzled as I was!)
Have you ever lived somewhere a book was banned? Did that make you want to search out and read that book even more? Have you ever suggested a certain book be banned and why? We’d love to hear your comments!