By Mayra Diaz- Educator, Lighthouse Learning Solutions
Censors don’t want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty.Judy Blume, Author
As frightening as that sounds, it is also becoming a chilling reality. This month, we are pivoting from our usual upbeat tone to talk about some pressing topics.
In states like Florida, laws are being implemented to get rid of books that are deemed “offensive” and “hurtful” (see article below). What does this mean though? And most importantly, why are we telling young people that learning about perspectives which may be different from their own is somehow dangerous? Isn’t our jobs as educators and adults to share truth with our children, including what is true for people who may be unlike themselves? Furthermore, don’t all children deserve to see themselves represented in literature?
Literature is an important tool that helps us teach diversity and empathy to younger generations. Literature shows us different perspectives and experiences from a wide variety of people, from all over the world. While some of these realities are hard to read about, they are also people’s stories, and each person deserves to have their voice heard and their experiences respected! Children are often a lot more thoughtful and capable than we give them credit for. If we continue to ban books, it shows we don’t believe in their ability to learn and think critically. Furthermore, by limiting their exposure to different experiences and perspectives, we run the risk of teaching younger generations intolerance and cruelty towards people who they may view as too different from themselves to feel respect or compassion.
Approaching challenging topics through the eyes of the authors who have experienced difficult times can provide a unique way to teach our children. Read about how libraries are emptying shelves due to laws regarding book banning, and watch the videos below to learn about people who are greatly affected by this matter.