Freedom to read is hard. Very hard. It is so easy to say a book isn’t appropriate for someone else to read. Then I think, how would I feel if someone wouldn’t let me read a book I wanted or felt the need to read? I had a real wake-up call when I was taking a Young Adult Literature class many years ago. I was assigned to read the book We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier. I had such a strong reaction to the first few chapters that I refused to finish it. It was horrible, violent, cruel, appalling. I could not imagine any reason to read it or why it should even exist on the planet. I eventually went back to it because it was required reading. I did it under protest.
When I completed the book, I began to understand. The characters were true. You followed many of them first hand, learned of their motivations and went with them on their journey as they sorted out feelings, learned from their experiences and met with the consequences of their actions. It made you think and analyze. I began to understand the value of the book. There is a need for some young adults to experience violence through a book in order to make sense of why it happens in the world. It was a valuable lesson for me. Not only can’t I judge a book by its cover, I can’t judge it by the first few chapters. Would I read the book again? No. Furthermore, I would be careful before I recommended it to someone else. However, it does teach a needed lesson which is why libraries all over the nation kept it on their shelves when it was being banned in 1993.
Freedom to read is very hard, but I’m glad we live in a country where we have that freedom.
323. That is the number of challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom in 2016. Check out the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 here.
The right to read is a precious gift that so often we take for granted. If I hadn’t been allowed to read Charlotte’s Web, A Light in the Attic, Stargirl, The Color Purple or The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I would have become a very different thinker and person. These books (and many, many others) allowed me to experience life outside of my own experiences, expand my views and understanding, and appreciate lifestyles other than my own.
As I look at the 2016 list, I’m reminded of how grateful I am to live in a country where, though these books are challenged, we can still read them, grow from them, and share them! What banned books shaped you as a reader?
I can almost always tell by the first chapter of a book whether it is one that will endear itself to my lil’ book worm heart. Jennifer Bell’s The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence was not only endearing but filled the void that had been left by some of my favorite series. This trilogy opener has magic, mystery, humor and adventure as Ivy and her brother Seb end up unexpectedly in a land called Lundinor, where nothing is as they know it in their world. Check out the book trailer below for the publisher’s quick summary. If you read and loved the Harry Potter series, The Underland Chronicles (Gregor the Overlander) or The Land of Stories and were left feeling like no other book or series would measure up, give this series a try. I devoured book one and am anxiously awaiting book two!
Full disclosure: I read this using an audio book. I’d pop it in and listen on my drive to the library each day. Jayne Entwistle is an award-winning actress who did a beautiful job bringing individual voice and personality to each and every character. I have listened to many books read by her, but by far, this was my favorite. From the slightly dented bicycle bell named Scratch (who has a slight issue with speech) to the mysterious Valian, to Grandma Sylvie herself, Entwistle seamless reads from one character to the next in a way that will have you lost in the story and isn’t that what the best books do? Not to worry though, for those who need the physical book, the smell of the paper, the sound of the pages turning, we have traditional book copies available as well and Jennifer Bell’s writing on it’s own will pull you into the land of Lundinor and all of the curiosities it holds.
Do you have a library card?
I have my library card, and I cannot imagine my life without it. I honestly save myself at least $50 or more a month because I have one. Books are not cheap and I check out a lot of books that I think I might be interested in because of the availability of free books. I see a cute or interesting cover and I check it out. A subject I’ve never read, but it sounds interesting I check it out. Free books that won’t fill up my already tight book shelves. It is a win win for me!
Prefer e-books? My library has those too. Our newest app for e-books is Libby, but we have many other e-media resources for music, magazines, movies and more! I really enjoying sitting at my computer and downloading titles to my handheld device and then I always have 2-4 titles with me all the time. And they are never late! The system ends the loan and returns the title for me.
Wait! What about audio books? My library has those too. Long car trips or my commute to work seems shorter and a far more enjoyable with an audio book playing in my car.
At my library I can also check out DVDs of movies and television series. I really enjoy mysteries and I can get my fill at my library. There are new titles coming in all the time and I always find something to entertain me.
My library has children’s wooden puzzles, books with puppets, a microscope, and many other items and kits to check out. You enjoy playing with them for a few weeks and then take them back to the library – no storage problems!
If you don’t have a library card call your local library and ask about the requirements to be able to acquire a card. Then see what they have available for you!
It is a true blessing having a library card.
I’m willing to bet you can list many reasons to read out loud to your young child. It is a great way to prepare your child for that exciting day he or she begins to read.
Unfortunately, when children begin to read, many people stop reading out loud to their child. Reading time becomes only the time a child reads out loud to the parent before disappearing completely once the child is reading on their own.
I personally hate to see those reading aloud sessions disappear. Older children benefit from those special reading adventures just as much as their younger siblings. Below are just a few reasons I hope people will continue reading to their child.
- Children understand so much more than what they are capable reading. Words and plots of early reader books are by necessity too easy for children who have been used to hearing more complex stories even from their picture books.
- Children can continue to improve their vocabulary. The more words children know, the easier it is to read those words. It is also easier for a child to learn a word when read in context of a story. This also applies to the structure of language. Children who hear complex sentences and words will be able to incorporate that in their reading and speaking which will help them later in school.
- Reading aloud will help your child keep an interest in reading. Learning to read can be hard. If your child is struggling it is helpful to them to know that once they figure it out there are more exciting things out there to read.
- It gives you, as a parent, the opportunity to discuss with your child important life lessons that come forward in stories.
- It helps to keep that close bond you have already formed with reading to your child. Not only does it give you some quiet time with your child, it also gives you both a reference point. When you both see something happen in real life you can both say “ That’s just like in the book!” Or perhaps you feel like a favorite character in a book, you can say “I’m just like Alice in Wonderland” and your child will automatically know what you’re talking about.
So if your child is willing, keep on reading! I cannot think of a better way to share a book.
Starting this month Exploratorium Junior will happen the last Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Each Exploratorium Junior will have hands on activity for the kids to enjoy and this month they will be able to take the activity home with them.
Parents are required to stay with their children during the program.
Siblings are welcome.