I put this quote up from Stephen King on my FB site about banning books this week.

The comments section ranged form agreement to one particular post that pointed out a book titled Let’s Talk about It: The Teen’s Guide to Sex, Relationships, and Being a Human (a Graphic Novel). There were a few photos from the book shown and I was asked if I agreed that that book should be allowed in schools. The book has drawings of naked people, and of human body parts. I don’t know how a book that is geared towards teens and learning about human sexuality would be able to exist without some photos. I have books like this, including this one in my house so that teens will read them.

There have also been enough studies that show that with open sex education in schools and for teens that the rate of abortion goes down, and students tend to stay in school longer. — Topic for another discussion.

The whole conversation on my timeline showed me, however that the issue of books in schools, and the banning of books has to deal with what some are uncomfortable with, what we have not looked at in ourselves. This just isn’t about a book geared towards teens about sex. (I wish there were books like this when I was growing up. I came from a family that didn’t even talk about puberty) This is about not only sharing information but sharing how to interpret the information, how to critically think, how to research the topic in a way that we are looking at other viewpoints, and really, how some books are just for fun and are PRETEND. Public School Libraries, Public Libraries funded by public dollars have always been places where one may find out information not able to be found any where else. They are places to explore, they are places to expand our knowledge base and awareness, they are places in which and individual decides what to place in their mind. It is also a place where children, teens and adults have a place to obtain materials even if they do not have internet access, if there is a home atmosphere where open communication is not easy, for those that are homeless, for those that are immigrants and learning the language and the culture. It is a place to derive some entertainment from a work of fiction even in a family not able to afford books. Publicly funded libraries are places that any person of any color, of any gender, of any religion or spirituality, of any sexual orientation, of any economic status can go. When a few start to think their perception on book banning is appropriate we miss out on the richness of conversations, expression and learning that is able to happen in a country blessed with an over abundance of diversity. I have found over and over that my interpretation of the world can always be expanded, reinterpreted, reexplored and my new knowledge and understanding integrated with what I knew before. It has taken a willingness to not be right, but to be curious.

In the mid 90’s I may have agreed with the person commenting on this book. I have come to understand the world in grays and pastels with shades of both being added every day. I want my children to have the same opportunity that I have had in this area, to be able to fully explore, research what sparks my interest and then come to my own conclusions. I like Stephen King’s take on the subject. If the books are not available where you are, because of a few afraid people, find the banned list and read them all. I think for some, they may not of even picked up the book otherwise. Silver Linings.