So Tahereh and The Rejectionist are hosting an epic bonanza of banned book reviews today, in which everyone talks about their favorite banned book.
And I'm going to pull the oh-my-God-obvious card. Right about now. Ready? Okay.
Now, while I love the Harry Potter series, it is not my favorite series of books in the world. I get easily irritated with the last few books in the series. They're not the greatest works of literature ever written.
But the thing I love most about Harry Potter is that it has done something that no other book I know of has done - it has connected us on a global level. Talk to just about anyone around the world and you will be able to formulate some kind of conversation about Harry Potter. Maybe they grew up reading Harry Potter. Maybe, like me, Harry Potter taught them to love reading. Maybe their kids read Harry Potter. Maybe they don't have kids but they still read it anyway. Maybe they're ten years old and are just getting into the series for the first time. Maybe they've only seen the movies.
And because we are all so connected because of these books, we can really carry out their message - that it's worth fighting for the good in this world. The fact that something like the Harry Potter Alliance exists and helps real people in real ways, like sending FIVE planes of supplies to Haiti, makes me so, so happy. It's amazing that a book can connect so many people around the world and motivate them to do so many good things. (Although really, what better than a book to do all that?)
Why in God's name would anyone want to try banning that?
Oh yeah. Right.
I'm not even going to bother getting into the fact that the magic in Harry Potter is obviously not real and we are not stupid enough to believe it is. I just have one question for the book banners of the world:
Who died and made you king of the universe?
Seriously, I understand that you're trying to protect morality here. Great. Fine. Good. But it is not your job to tell other people what they can and cannot read. I personally lived a very sheltered childhood, and because of that I'm very sensitive to people reading or watching "inappropriate" things at a young age. I am really disturbed by all the ten-year-olds in the world reading Twilight, 'cause, come on, that's just wrong.
But it is NOT MY JOB to tell them not to read it.
I mean, yeah, if a friend asked me about it, I would say READ HARRY POTTER AND DON'T READ TWILIGHT. EVER. But what you would say to a friend and banning a book from a school library are completely different. My friend could choose to ignore me, but completely removing the opportunity for a child to read a book is just plain wrong.
Many of the books on the ALA list could really help someone who is going through a tough time. Many of them are the classics that we all read in English class. And many of them you look at and just say "huh???"
Maybe Harry Potter isn't the most "important" book in the world. But even though the magic in it is not real, the spirit of it is clearly very, very real indeed. We don't need magic spells to do what Harry did - make friends, believe in himself, stand up for what's right. But we do need books that might show us how to do that.
I wasn't an avid reader as a little kid, but all that changed when my mom got me a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. How could something that has instilled a lifelong love of reading be bad? Why would you ever want to stop a child from learning to love to read?
Banning books is not okay, and it should never be allowed to be okay. Reading is far too important a thing to try and stifle.