Watch a young child play, he/she creates imaginary friends, makes up stories, and plays them out (like a spaceship landing...), and wonders about things beyond the door and out of sight. It is actually marvelous to enjoy that FREEDOM.
But lately, SOME people seem to seriously want to limit free thought. Censorship is one way and while we all wish we could hide from some ugly facts of life, isn't awareness and the ability to decide things for ourselves more important?
"Between 2021 and 2022, there were a considerable number of books banned or challenged in the United States. Most of the targeted books have to do with race, gender, and sexuality. Unlike most book challenges in the past, whereby parents or other stakeholders in the community would engage teachers and school administrators in a debate over a title, local groups have received support from conservative advocacy organizations working to nationalize the efforts focused on certain subjects. They have also been more likely to involve legal and legislative measures rather than just conversations in local communities. Journalists, academics, librarians, and others commonly link the coordinated, often well-funded book challenges to other reactionary efforts to restrict what students should learn about systemic bias and the history of the United States. Hundreds of books have been challenged, including high-profile examples like Maus by Art Spiegelman and New Kid by Jerry Craft." (Wikipedia)
Just today I read about a teacher who was fired for sharing a QR code to a public library! Not only was she fired from that school, but now there is even a movement to remove her teaching license and remove her ability to work in her field! The QR code in question was for the Brooklyn Public Library which did allow students across the country to take out e-books that are not available in their own school district. (This service has since been suspended) All this is because she encouraged her students to learn.
As a much younger version of myself, I remember the first time I read Ray Bradbury's book FAHRENHEIT 451. It was chilling. The book, written in 1953, depicted an American nation where books were outlawed, burned if found, and freedom of thought was severely discouraged. Even more disturbing than the book's premise is that the picture above (on the left) is NOT from the book — it is from a book burning here in an American town, in February 2022!
A few Romance Lit titles that have been banned or challenged through the years include works such as Lolita, 50 Shades of Grey, Gone With the Wind, A Farewell to Arms, and more. Some of the reasons that books are challenged, and possibly banned, include sexual content, alternate lifestyles, interracial involvement, and even historical stories that blame racists.
Why not take a trip to your local library and find out which books are challenged/banned, and then use your library card to check them out and read. Keep your minds open, read and learn, and learn not to sit idly by while your Freedom of Thought gets "hogtied".
ALA's Top Ten Challenged Books of 2021
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin