Book Bans: An Age Old Debate


The banning of books has always been a piece of American history. The first banned book was, New English Canaan, by Thomas Morton in 1637. This book was banned by the Puritans because it spoke against Puritan beliefs and customs in an extremely harsh manner. 

Books have been banned for a variety of reasons; such as coarse language, racial stereotypes, use of the N-word, abortion, drug use, excessive violence, communist or political commentary and LGBT and sexual content. Under these circumstances, books like 1984, The Bluest Eye, and even the Lorax have been banned in schools. 

So why is book banning becoming a heated discussion once again? Some parents in the U.S. have expressed their concerns about some books that are available in the public and school libraries. They disagree with their children reading books like, To Kill a Mockingbird, or Maus. Some cities have already banned the book The Hate U Give because it “encourages police distrust.” There is much discussion on if school boards or parents should set what is acceptable reading for age levels. 

Many books in Florida have already been banned from school libraries, including even some math textbooks. The math textbooks were supposedly banned because of references to “CRT” (Critical Race Theory), Common Core, and SEL, or Social Emotional Learning. 

However, not everyone believes in banning books. Some believe that the majority of books banned are written by authors of color or other minority authors, and are being banned because they don’t fit the dominant cultural narrative of the United States. 

Books have been banned since 1637, but the debate is still as fresh today as it was four hundred years ago.  Many communities where books are banned have made groups to figure out which books to ban or not ban. The question remains, how much power should school boards have over what books should be banned in schools? Do the books that are currently banned have a valid reason for being banned? Where is the line between individual choice of reading or not reading a book, vs. banning others from accessing it?  What say do parents have over what their children read, or what other people’s children read, in a school setting? These are all questions being asked about this recent book ban craze. 

 Most people agree that younger children shouldn’t be able to read certain books and their parents should be able to decide what they are allowed to read.

It is important to learn and not every book will be on a comfortable topic but does that mean we shouldn’t read it at all? Sometimes it is good to know about the things that aren’t so good in the world. Some people believe we should have the freedom to choose what we decide to read, and not have someone else decide for us. We all have different things we are interested in and would like to read about. Every individual can choose what they are comfortable reading.