Banned books in homeschool?
By now, we have all heard of Texas and other conservative states banning books from public school libraries.
And I am fully jumping on the bandwagon to read ALL the banned books. Here’s why.
Why Do People Ban Books?
Those in authority often work tirelessly to build a collective worldview in their followers.
Authorities ban and destroy books that challenge the promoted idea of the world.
Banning books is a tool in authoritative governing technique meant to limit and control the idea of the world in the minds of the masses.
Nazis burned books that promoted the legitimacy of Jewish morality; gay, intersex, and transgender individuals; pacifism, and the Republic of Germany that flourished before Hitler turned Germany into a military dictatorship.
This left people with few dangerous ways to trade ideas contrary to the Nazi way of life.
Closer to home, during the Civil Rights Movement in America, racist groups worked to ban books that promoted racial integration.
“We are just Protecting the Kids!”
No, you aren’t.
You are limiting them. And ultimately leaving kids vulnerable to manipulation.
Reading a book doesn’t traumatize you. On the contrary, it nurtures empathy by letting you experience other people’s trauma from a safe place.
Protecting kids means you work hard to make them feel safe, secure and cared for.
It’s about meeting them where they are in terms of physical, academic, and emotional development AND how they are dealing with daily stressors.
Meeting their needs peacefully and productively will give them the freedom to explore the rich and emotional experiences in these books.
Why Your Kids Should Read Banned Books
I have always read banned books. And have never put a limit on what my kids read.
One of my favorite banned books is “And Tango Makes Three,” a true story of gay penguins hatching an egg at the Central Park Zoo.
Benefits of Reading Banned Books
There are tons of benefits to reading banned books, but I will outline just a few here.
The Most Important Benefit
When an authority bans a book, it is done to prevent people from forming ideas or opinions that oppose what that authority promotes.
And when we encourage our kids to read banned books, we give them the tools they need to build a worldview that transcends this control. This means they can challenge the authority that doesn’t align with their morality.
We build a habit that encourages people to seek out these sources and evaluate them for themselves.
Academic: Critical Thinking and Opposing Views using Banned Books
Banning books limit the publics’ critical thinking ability. However, when we accept that some books aren’t fit to read, it teaches us several things.
It teaches us to be complicit when people refuse to provide evidence because it prevents first-hand analysis of ideas.
It becomes impossible for people to decide what is true and propaganda.
And it teaches kids that they don’t need to seek out primary sources to thoroughly evaluate an idea.
Banning books kill these 3 essential components of critical thinking.
Opposing Views – Reading Banned Books
The most essential part of critical thinking is considering both sides of an argument. And reading bad books is part of that experience.
The Nazis were prolific writers, and because they controlled the media so accurately, they could write openly about horrific things.
Sure, we can tell our kids that the Nazis were terrible and did horrible things.
But that is not good academics; our kids would learn about the Nazis is filtered through our idea of the Nazis.
Instead, we should encourage our kids to read things written by Nazis, watch their propaganda films, and explore primary sources. This gives us first-hand evidence of what they really believed, did, and achieved straight from the horse’s mouth.
By exposing our kids to these ideas and encouraging them to think critically about them, we give them the tools to protect themselves and those they love.
Emotional and Social Benefits
- Emotional Learning
Books are the perfect way to teach kids about emotions. Children’s literature is full of books that explore emotions.
As our kids move from children to young adults, exposing them to progressively complex emotional experiences is essential.
Exposing our kids to moral dilemmas through books is the perfect way to start discussions about complex things that we need to discuss with them.
These discussions are how we guide their moral development and teach them to be thoughtful, reflective people.
Doing this, we give names to complicated emotions, talk about how our emotions affect our reactions, and encourage our kids to think in entirely new ways.
- Social Learning
Banned books are often controversial, portraying awful experiences like sexual assault and violence.
But if we want our kids to learn how to think critically, they need to be exposed to those truths. Beloved by Toni Morrison explores generational trauma, among other themes. And it does this by personifying the guilt of murder that haunts an entire family. What an attention-grabbing way to talk about how past events influence today’s actions.
For most families, the dramatic events of banned books seem far off. Still, for plenty of families, these things are everyday problems. Victims of sexual assault or child abuse can feel alone, and their peers can get a first-hand view of what the victims are experiencing through reading banned books.
Reading banned books is a crucial tool in protecting our kids. It gives them the tools they need to protect themselves and understand their own emotions and the experiences/emotions of others.
Most importantly, reading banned books shows our kids that we control how we see the world and shouldn’t let any authority constrain our worldview.