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Banned Brilliance: Tragedy Of Banning Children's Books

Written by NJames
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Even as a child I loved to read. My favorite book was discovered in the school library when I was ten. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz, was a collection of terrifying tales collected from folklore, and featured intense illustrations by Stephen Gammell. I felt the hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I read about a couple of teenagers trapped in a car while somewhere outside, an escaped maniac with a hook for a hand roamed around. In another story, a babysitter receives threatening calls, and discovers they're coming from an upstairs bedroom.

While the stories weren't too gory, many parents found the book to be inappropriate for school libraries; my parents, however, were simply thrilled that I was reading instead of watching television. A few years later, after the release of two more volumes, the series was banned. As a child I didn't understand what "banned" meant. The only thing I knew was that my favorite books were taken away.

Many parents feel that Harry Potter doesn't belong in school libraries due to the "witchcraft" and "black magic" depicted. As a parent, they want to control what their child reads, or watches on television; I'm not saying they shouldn't. Children should be encouraged to read something that exercises their imagination, and allows them to be young and carefree. Maybe if more parents felt that way, books wouldn't be banned as often. Reading Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark never made me want to stalk babysitters, it made me want to be a writer.

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