Banning books helps politicians but hurts students

But no, it’s not the 50s or 60s. It is 2022, and our “leaders” are trying to ban books. Where is the outcry from those people who were so alarmed when they thought Dr Seuss’ books were banned? In fact, they only stopped reprinting six of his books, a decision made by the publisher.

Where is the contempt for culture cancellation now when LGBTQ books are now targeted? Georgian students like James Liming, featured in AJC’s story, make connections in books and find windows and mirrors that Rudine Sims Bishop, one of the early champions of multicultural children’s literature, talks about in his essay “Mirrors, Windows and Sliding Glass Doors. “

Bishop, professor emeritus at Ohio State University, in this famous essay describes books that reflect the reader’s experience as “mirrors” and books that offer a view of someone else’s experience as ” Windows “. The “sliding doors” offer the reader a chance to step into another world and be a part of history. These books save lives. Librarians save lives and now it is all threatened by people trying to secure their re-election.

These same people don’t want black history taught in school. They use words like “Critical Race Theory”, “Awakening” and “Book Ban” to incite their base. As a school librarian, I always ask my students, “Have you read the book? I have to ask the same of these people. Have you read the books?

Legend

Cicely Lewis, school librarian at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County in Norcross, created Read Woke, a program in which students explore literature that challenges social norms. His program has gained worldwide acclaim and is now in use in many schools. (Courtesy of Cicely Lewis)

Credit: Cicely Lewis

Cicely Lewis, school librarian at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County in Norcross, created Read Woke, a program in which students explore literature that challenges social norms.  His program has gained worldwide acclaim and is now in use in many schools.  (Courtesy of Cicely Lewis)
legend arrowLegend

Cicely Lewis, school librarian at Meadowcreek High School in Gwinnett County in Norcross, created Read Woke, a program in which students explore literature that challenges social norms. His program has gained worldwide acclaim and is now in use in many schools. (Courtesy of Cicely Lewis)

Credit: Cicely Lewis

Credit: Cicely Lewis

I guarantee you the answer is no. As I tell my students, if you haven’t read the book, how can you participate in the discussion? Do lawmakers really think the book ban will stop our young people looking for and seeking information? Well, they mustn’t have heard of the internet.

As a mother and educator, I know the fastest way to get a child to do something is to tell them they can’t do something. As School Librarian of the Year 2020, I know I have a responsibility to say something because I am committed to ensuring that students have access and that their intellectual freedom is guaranteed. I will not remain silent during this time. As Zora Neale Hurston said, “If you keep silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.

I will not live in fear. I will continue to fight for the intellectual freedom of my students and my children. I will continue to distribute and donate books whenever I get the chance. I will continue to fund grants for teachers using my non-profit organization so that they can continue to educate our children so that they can be compassionate citizens and informed citizens.

I will be offering scholarships to students who read books and make change in their community. Our young people are watching and what we are doing now matters. In AJC history, former public school superintendent John Barge said that schools are not the place to “talk to kids, you know they can be what they want to be. “.

Do you think books are the reason a child is transgender or gay? Do you think banning these books will prevent us from having transgender children? If you do, then you have to go back to school.

These books are needed to help students understand the plight of others and learn more about themselves in the process. Schools are NOT the site of gun violence, but too many people would rather focus their energy on banning library books than passing laws to help stop school shootings.

I encourage everyone to write to your local leaders and make your voice heard. We need more voices to stand up for our children. Teachers were targeted during the pandemic and now leaders want to be able to sue school librarians. It must stop and we must do something now before it is too late. For those of you who don’t think this problem applies to you, then wait. Because they will use it to ban Holocaust books, slavery books, and racism books.

So please:

• Write to your local leaders the importance of intellectual freedom

• Donate to organizations that provide access to books

• Join the PTA

• Vote

• Buy books and gift books for the young people in your life

Unless we speak up and make our voices heard, it is the beginning of a story that will not have a good ending.

About Christopher Rodgers

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