We like to hop.
We like to hop on top of Pop.
You must not hop on Pop.”
When you read those sentences and rhymes, do you think they promote the idea of children abusing their fathers? When you read Harry Potter, do you feel the need to change your religious views (if you have them) and take up witchcraft?
Believe it or not, some would say, “Why yes, in fact, I do think Dr. Seuss’s “Hop on Pop” promotes violence against fathers. We should ban children from reading this book”
In fact, it did happen in 2014, a fathers’ rights activist from Canada wanted the book pulled from Toronto library circulation. Not only did he want the book banned and out of reach of children, he also wanted an apology and reimbursement for damages. (He did not succeed in this endeavor.)
“Hop on Pop” is just one of many classic books to have accusations made against it.
For many years, old and new books alike for various reasons have been challenged by parents who think the content is unsuitable for children. Some have even been removed from schools because of this.
According to the American Library Association (ALA) website, the book “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” a book about a nine-year old boy’s loss of his father to the 9/11 attack was removed from school curriculum at Mattoon High School (Illinois) because it has “possibly offensive materials.”
As students, parents, and teachers, do we really want to shield ourselves and the next generation from important ideas and books just because we deem them “possibly offensive material?” Do we not want children to think for themselves? To read things and understand why they may be offensive? Many times, you hear the phrase “If we forget the past, we are doomed to repeat it.” Is this how we forget the past? By banning and challenging books?
Challenging and banning books is a form of censorship and one that we should stand against. The Corsair ran a survey on the people who had heard of Banned or Challenged books. While we had many responses, many people did not want to take the survey simply because they had never heard of it. “Banned books? Why would they ban books?” some said, “When did they start doing that?”
More awareness needs to be brought to these concerning events. We should not stand by while important books and information get censored. The ALA works to spread the word by having a Banned/Challenged book week in September. This year #BannedBookWeek takes place September 23-29.
If you are interested in learning more about banned/challenged books and what you can do to help stop this censorship, they can go to the ALA website at www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks.