Every burned book enlightens the world.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We need to ban more books.
Let me be more specific.
You need to ban more books.
I don’t mean a small, intimate banning with just a timid teacher and an irate parent.
I need a top-level, principal, school board, superintendent, someone-call-the-press banning.
You see, the bigger the banning, the easier it is for me to get my students to read – that book.
When they’re finished with that book?
We celebrate the history of your banning brethren.
We’ve been keeping track.
“Yes, other books have been banned before.”
“Yes, there is a list.”
“Yes, they are in the library.”
“Yes, you may be excused to run down and check it out.”
Your banning is like an NC-17 rating daring my students to forge fake library cards and sneak into the pages of ideas undetected.
What’s more, it’s a bat signal of ignorance that lets me know I need to teach your child to ask. Ask everything.
My pedagogy forbids me from telling him what to think, but it demands that I ask him to think.
I hope someday I’ll write a banned book. I’ll join the ranks of Twain, Morrison, Orwell, Faulkner, Crutcher, Blume, Sacher, Huxley, London, King, Sallinger, Walker, Myers, Hemingway, Mitchell, Atwood, Rowling, Conrad, Sinclair, Lawrence, Silverstein, Wright, Hinton, Zindel, Hurston, Miller, Joyce, Lee, and so many more.
It keeps me in business.
It helps me know who you are.
It keeps them reading.