More evidence on the importance of banned books

Books help young people understand the world

Banned Books Week has come and gone – and we are looking forward to next year! But the issue of censorship regarding the books that young people are able to read continue all year long. This great article from shares that, “Some of the most frequently challenged books are the very books that young readers say are especially important and meaningful to them.”

Adults tend to worry about kids being exposed to ideas or beliefs that differ from their own. They also worry about allowing young people access to books that feature content such as sexuality, racial and ethnicity issues, violence, drugs, body image, and more. However, as the article claims, this controversial content can actually help kids and young people learn, empathize, and grow.

The authors of the article contacted eight writers including Lois Lowry, Chris Crutcher, and Rainbow Rowell to see if they would be willing to share messages they have received from young readers detailing the positive effects that have come from reading their often challenged books.

Read the article to see all of the responses, but some repeating themes are that young people feel less isolated, feel more connected to friends or family that may be facing challenges, are able to find the strength to remove themselves from harmful situations, and to begin to find a sense of self-acceptance.

While well-meaning (hopefully) adults may challenge books that feature tough issues like self-harm, abuse, and addiction, the young people that read these books are generally all too aware of these same issues already. Reading these books can help them not only work through and make sense of the issues, but show that they aren’t the only ones dealing with them.