Dealing with the Naughty Books in Your Life

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It’s Banned Books Week again. You know, that one week a year where everyone with common sense gathers ’round to celebrate the ridiculousness of banning books. Where we take up bookworm arms, gather the pages unto us, and celebrate the joy of reading those naughty books.

Books are banned for various reasons. Some of them make sense, and most of them don’t. Here’s the thing, though, even for the ones that maybe make sense to not have around… you can’t do that. Because once you ban one book, then it makes it easier to think about banning another, and another… and you see where I’m going with this. Instead, what I’d like to suggest is that we all institute this little thing called COMMON SENSE.

See, I’ve created some step-by-step guides below to help you deal with the three most common scenarios when dealing with books with objectionable material in them.

Dealing with Naughty Books

Scenario 1: You are reading a book, and discover that you don’t like the material contained within for some reason or another.

  • Step 1. Close the book.
  • Step 2. Donate the book to your local library, bookstore, etc.
  • Step 3. Try another book.

See how EASY that was?!

Scenario 2: You have read a book and don’t think your daughter/son should be reading it. Because it might make them have bad thoughts.

  • Step 1A. Exercising common sense, you may tell your child that you do not believe they are in the appropriate age range for the book (if that is true). For example, a seven year old should probably not be reading Twilight.
  • Step 2A. Take them to the library, and let them pick out another book. See? Much easier than trying to get the book banned, yeah?

However, if your child is in the appropriate age range for the book:

  • Step 1B. Slap yourself upside the head. Because if your child is in the appropriate age range for the book, you trying to ban it because you don’t want them reading it is just blatantly STUPID.  ‘Cause, wow, “If we ban it/make it illegal, they won’t do it!” has worked for us as a country so many times in the past. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes here.
  • Step 2B. After you’ve smacked some sense back into yourself, discuss the book with your child as they read it. Ask them questions about the things you find troubling. See what they think. Talk about how the ideas contained within may have been a product of their time but are no longer applicable. If it’s a really naughty book that, you know, might contain talk of S-E-X, then use it as a springboard to talk to your child about safe intercourse, and making sure they’re waiting for the right person.
  • Step 3B. Congratulate yourself on being an adult instead of being a  knee-jerk reactionary douche. Good adult!

Scenario 3: Your child’s class is reading a book you find objectionable, and you don’t them to.

  • Step 1. Grow up. Consider what your child sees in movies and on TV on probably a daily or at least weekly basis. Now, compare that to the ‘horrible’ book they’re reading in class.
  • Step 2. Suck it up. Teachers have kids read books for a reason and its generally not to convert your child to the dark arts.
  • Step 3. Reference Step 2B above for further instructions.

Simple fact, folks, the more fuss you make over something, the more people get interested in it, and want to see what’s so inflammatory. So every time you get on your high horse with a Mount St. Helen sized chip on your shoulder, the better it is for a book’s sales.  So, I guess, really, keep doing what you’re doing. Because it guarantees those books are going to get read, instead of fading into obscurity like some of them need to do.

By the way: Whenever you’re thinking about challenging a book, make sure you stop to ask yourself why you’re doing it. Here’s a small check-list for you to run through.

  1. Am I reacting to something without considering it?
  2. Am I on a power trip fueled by ignorance?
  3. Is there a legitimate reason why this book should be banned?
  4. Instead of trying to fight this book, is there something more effective I could do instead?
  5. Am I being a bigot/snob/toe-rag?


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