(Confession time here. I’m a First Amendment purist, of the stripe which, if we were talking the Second Amendment instead of the First, would undoubtedly get me labeled a “free speech nut” and have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms searching my house. And I regard with a cold and fishy eye the sort of statement that begins, “Of course I’m in favor of free speech, but….”)
Judging by the American Library Association’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016 list, children’s and young adult books tend to get hit the hardest — unsurprising, since everybody agrees that Protecting the Children is important, as is Molding Young Minds.
This year’s top ten list is mostly full of books that were challenged by people who wanted to protect the children from LBGTQ characters and issues. Presumably, they’re afraid that reading about such things will cause their offspring to “turn gay”, which is unlikely (as Mayor Jimmy Walker of New York observed about a censorship issue of an earlier day, “I have never yet heard of a girl being ruined by a book”) — or maybe they’re just afraid that said offspring will find validation in those books for something about themselves that they already know.
Support your local library, people. They’re fighting the good fight to keep books on the shelves for the readers who need them.
Reposted from my editorial blog.