What is happening to the world? As a fervent reader I was quite shocked about two news items I ran into. The first one was about the banning of the book “The fault in our Stars” by John Green in the Riverside Unified School District middle schools in California. One parent, Karen Krueger was the one who started the discussion of the ban. In her opinion was the morbid plot, crude language, and sexual content inappropriate for her children. Betsy Schmechel, committee member and principal of one of the Riverside middle schools in question, defended the decision by saying that the thing that kept hitting her were these kids dealing with their own mortality, and how difficult that might be for an 11-year-old or 12-year-old reading this book.
(Here is the link to the rest of the article: The fault in our stars banned in schools )
News like this upsets me. Because first of all, don’t schools learned already that by banning things, those things become more interesting? I mean, if I was a child at that school, I’d definitely read the book because it is banned, aside from the book being interesting or not. Okay, we can discuss the question “Should children of that age come in contact with such heavy subjects?”, but isn’t that just life? This is my second point. The book is sad, but beautiful. And not morbid and with inappropriate sexual content. There are a lot of things that ARE sexually inappropriate in our daily, which children see every day. But the story of ‘The fault in our stars’ is far from inappropriate. It teaches children about life and about love. It shows how a good relationship can be, it shows the right reasons to have sex: out of love, not because you ‘have to’ (there are so many wrong reasons: like, I should lose my virginity to fit in – or I should have sex or he’ll leave me). And everyone will meet death in some way, so why not already show a side of it. The book will learn you to understand death in many different ways.
And last but not least, why not let children decide for themselves what they read? I mean, I did always choose my own books. If a child feels mature enough to read ‘The fault in our stars’, he/she should read it. And if the child is not mature enough, he/she will put the book away because he/she does not find it interesting enough, or will not understand it completely. Anyway, my conclusion is: the book will definitely not damage a child – there are worse things to worry about.
The other news item that upset me – and made me laugh and roll my eyes at the same time, was about the Christian mother who started to rewrite ‘Harry Potter’. Because she worries that her children might turn into witches or wizards. She made the book more ‘family-friendly’, or that is her opinion. Hogwarts the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry became Hogwarts the school of Prayer and Miracles.
I mean first of all: the Harry Potter books are classics you don’t mess with. She has a lot of guts to start writing that kind of fanfiction. Many people write stories about Harry Potter (pre, after and other versions), but if you don’t like it because it is devilish, why even bother rewriting it. By changing the story in such ways, you’re ruining the real one. Secondly, I petty her children and the others who’ll read the book. The little excerpts I read made me cringe, but I also feel sad, because what can those children read if even Harry Potter is not allowed? Their knowledge of literature must be so poor.
(For the people who want to know more about the Christian adaption, here’s a link to an article about it: Conservative christian rewrote Harry Potter)
Ironically those two things happened in the United States – isn’t it known as a free country?
It only shows extremism can be found everywhere in the world.