Tag Archives: banned books

Should any book be banned from access in libraries just for the fact that the ideas behind them are controversial?

Within our society and as people with many different points of view often times we want our own thought to be understood by everyone else. Although, at times debate and discussion are less emphasized and more focused on the simple desire to force others to conform to the same ideas as our own. This can be seen in instances like schools where they are deciding if they should listen to the angry parents and ban Harry Potter, a notable book, for being related to wizardry and satanism. So, we have to wonder, should we ban any books that might have some controversy with how we want to raise our children?
Is silencing the voice of the writer and practically stripping them of their first amendment right? Nytimes raises one question to the issue. How do the students feel about books being banned? After All, the students are the ones that will be reading the books not the parents, so shouldn’t the students be able to decide what they want to read? For the most part, students answered the question like Erin, an 18 year old in highschool, did by stating “The world is huge, and diverse. Books, whether fiction or nonfiction, open a little part of that world to us. …I think the books helped me to grow up, to learn about the world”. On the other hand how are we to know if the kids are ready to read some books that might require a little bit more maturity or context. We can’t just throw 4th graders into a translated version of Mein Kampf. Thoughtco thnks the answer is just providing a supporting hand if the students need it, like the introduction to the use of the N word in older literature. PBS sees every book as a learning experience and any book that is banned for sensitive material is simply avoiding the problem. Learning new information along with the context in which it is delivered will help us grow as individuals and come to better ideas. Justice Louis D. Brandeis would agree with the fact of having no books banned as seen by a famous case of Whitney vs. California Justice where he stated
*377 “Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”
In essence stating that free speech should be protected and if some things may not sound right, then we can talk to change it. In the end, books are meant for spreading ideas in a way that can sometimes be easier than speeches or other sources. Why not use them as tools for learning and enlightenment?


Works Cites:
“What To Teach Students About Censorship And Book Banning In America.” ThoughtCo. N. p., 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
Whitney v. California [1927] 274 U.S. 357 No. 3 (Supreme Court of United States)
Schulten, Katherine. “Are There Books That Should Be Banned From Your School Library?.” The Learning Network. N. p., 1285. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.
Strum, Lora, and Lora Strum. “Banning Books Like ’13 Reasons Why’ Makes It Harder For Teens To Open Up To Adults, Author Says.” PBS NewsHour. N. p., 2017. Web. 20 Feb. 2018.


Does Banning Books Violate One’s First Amendment Right?

When it comes to banning books, many schools are continuing to ban more and more books. Though there may be fair reasoning to have some of these books banned, it can go against freedom of press, making banning books unjust, unless it is an obscenity. I believe some books that are banned are clearly meet the limit of being an obscenity, but sometimes they it really doesn’t meet the definition. Cornell law describes an obscenity laws as,prohibiting lewd, filthy, or disgusting words or pictures,” but they also mention, “Indecent materials or depictions, normally speech or artistic expressions, may be restricted in terms of time, place, and manner, but are still protected by the First Amendment.” Books like Harry Potter and Where’s Waldo really have no, just reason to be banned, especially when you tie it with definition. This violates the freedom of the press because you are prohibiting authors of their right to freedom of the press for no reason. But, I do believe there are certain cases where it is best to ban a book.

Only some books should be banned, only when they follow this definition of obscenity, and it isn’t appropriate for the age group reading it. Having read several books on the “Banned Book List” I know that some books on that list have no reason to be on there, but others are best to be deemed “okay” to have in schools base off of age, making it fair for them to be banned. When it comes to books such as The Color Purple and To Kill a Mockingbird, banning them or not should probably fluctuate based on age. Even though it isn’t discussed in the constitution or seen as a limit, there can be fair arguments for not wanting certain ages to read certain books. In the book The Color Purple, right away in the book there is a graphic rape described. As the rest of the book continues, there is a lot of important historical context and lessons that happen throughout, making it important for someone to read, but with the graphic rape in the beginning, and a few more scenes throughout, it’s best to put an age restriction on it because you don’t want someone reading it at a young age, making the definition of obscenity fluctuate based on age. Though I think To Kill a Mockingbird should not be banned, due to its high use of the “n word”, some disagree. In no way am I condoning the “n word”, but I believe it’s an important, and dark part of our history that shouldn’t be forgotten, but something we are taught, and we learn from. To Kill a Mockingbird does this in a way that describes life during that time, and someone can actually learn through a fictional story, vs. out of a textbook, what life was like. Having people in elementary and middle school read it, can be deemed worthy needing it to be banned because they don’t understand the time as well, but people in high school are almost adults, and need to learn about that part of history in a further context, and they should understand the context of that word, raising the argument that obscenities definition should fluctuate based on the age reading the book. When it comes to freedom of press, there are certain limits to it, and sometimes those limits vary, based on certain factors. Books are a learning tool for all who read them, and when it comes to banning them or not, books should not be banned unless it’s deemed an obscenity for the age group reading it, not because of personal reasons in order to follow The Constitution, the highest law of the land.


“Banned & Challenged Classics.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. N. p., 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2018

“Obscenity.” LII / Legal Information Institute. N. p., 2018. Web. 12 Feb. 2018.


How do schools decide which books to censor, and which to put on shelves?

Books are banned for many reasons, some are good reasons, others not so good of reasons. One example of a reason to ban a book is that of the language that is used and being inappropriate for a curriculum, like in the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Parents are trying to get the book removed from the English curriculum at Monona Grove High School because it uses a racial slur 48 times.(4) The parents feel that it’s racial harassment by having African-American students read the book and that there are different books that teach the same topics in a more contemporary way.(4) The school decided to keep the book in the curriculum on a 4-1 vote. In this example they kept the book on the shelf because the school decided that they “believe in telling the truth” and “students can make up their own minds.”(5).

A different example, with a book that’s actually banned, was Catcher in the Rye. Many schools have banned this book for the profanity on its own, let alone to the other actions the main character does as well as his comments about people commonly discriminated against. Although a classic, schools do still obtain the right to remove a book from its’ shelves or its’ curriculum if it believes the book is to be too inappropriate for students to read(3). Which in this case, a fair amount of schools found it too inappropriate, in Illinois a school banned it for alcohol abuse, and in South Dakota, a school banned it for its’ sexual practice.(6). 

I think schools obtain the right to ban books but only if it’s actually a problem or inappropriate. For example, wanting to remove To Kill a Mocking Bird from the curriculum because you believe it’s wrong for African-American students to read, I can understand that. But that book goes across some racial issues and to solve problems you have to talk about them first.


5 Notable Banned-Book Cases for Banned Books Week(3)

“5 Notable Banned-Book Cases For Banned Books Week.” NWSidebar. N. p., 2014. Web. 14 Feb. 2018. -Used to read about a case that, in a way, set a bar for banning books


Journal, K.(4)

Journal, Karen. “Charging Racism, Cottage Grove Parents Want Harper Lee Book Barred From Classroom.” madison.com. N. p., 2018. Web. 16 Feb. 2018. 


-Used 4 and 5 for information about the ruling of To Kill a Mocking Bird

Committee votes to keep ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ in class curriculum(5)

“Committee Votes To Keep ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ In Class Curriculum.” WISC. N. p., 2018. Web. 17 Feb. 2018.


Why?, W.(6)

Why?, Who. “Who Banned Catcher In The Rye And Why? | Academic About Movies/Music/Tv, Pop Culture/Trends, School/College And Social Issues/Civics.” Teenink.com. N. p., 2012. Web. 17 Feb. 2018. -Used this to read about why Catcher in the Rye was banned.


Banned Books

Should libraries be able to regulate books?


There are many reasons as to why books are being banned from public and school libraries.  All these reasons are racial issues, encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles, blasphemous dialog, sexual situations, violence, witchcraft, religious affirmation, political bias, and age inappropriate. The most popular for books to banned is having sexual situations, age appropriate, and religious affirmation.  Fifty Shades of Grey and To Kill a Mockingbird are examples are banned books.  In these books, the material used in it is obscenite.  According to the Freedom of Speech,  people have the right to read what other people write and express themselves.  Island trees school district vs. Pico set the standards of banning books from the libraries.  

Although with the libraries regulating books people don’t get to have that right.  Even though, they get to read books without those challenging they don’t get to read the ones that were banned.  So under the freedom of speech is it right for libraries to regulate books?  Some books aren’t meant for children to read so libraries regulate books to protect the children’s mind.  A pro for libraries to regulate books is that it will protect children from what is in the book.  A con is that they should be able to read books to express themselves.  In overall, libraries regulating books isn’t a bad thing because it helps children reading the wrong type of material.