Banned Books I Encourage My Teen To Read
By definition, book banning is the act of removing materials from a school or library as a result of objections from groups or individuals who say they need to protect others from the difficult information or ideas contained in the books. These controversial topics include everything from sexuality and religious views to information on racial and social injustices.
I am a strong believer that for the most part, reading should not be censored. Growing up, I gained a wealth of knowledge and empathy through books. Learning about different views, experiences, and life paths from books has shaped me into a woman and mom who is able to spread my empathy to others around me, regardless of differing lifestyles, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds. So in part, I encourage my children, and especially my teenager, to read books that for one reason or another have been placed on the banned books list.
Here are my five favorites:
The Jungle by Upton Sinclair ::
This story follows an immigrant family in early 1900’s Chicago as they face poverty, exploitation, and corruption in their pursuit of the American Dream. This novel calls for social justice and reform amongst America’s working class and helped play a part in our government adopting labor laws.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ::
This story takes place in the depression era South, where themes of racism and classism are brought up throughout the novel. It’s told from the viewpoint of a child as she watches her father, Atticus Finch, defend a black man in court on accusations of assault on a white woman.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini ::
A novel centered around a boy in Afghanistan that spans through decades of his life. He deals with topics of betrayal and loyalty and finds redemption amongst the uphill battle Afghanistan faces as the country goes from a monarchy until the Taliban takes over.
1984 by George Orwell ::
Set in a dystopian society this novel warns against the dangers of a government fueled by propaganda and censorship. The main characters live a life under full surveillance with their lives endangered by knowing too much.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling ::
A young boy learns of his magical roots and attends a school for witchcraft to hone his craft. Along the way, he’s met with challenges and has to overcome them to save his himself and his friends from a future of being ruled or killed by his nemesis, Lord Voldermort.
I encourage you to use your best judgement. If your child is interested in reading a banned book, do your research and make the right choice for your family. While I encourage your teen to read as many as they can, what may be a great story for one child, is too mature for another.
If you’re interested in finding more banned books, here’s a great list! Best Banned, Censored, and Challenged Books (653 books) (goodreads.com)