The History of Book Banning



            Book banning is something that was a big deal so long ago and is now coming up again as an issue people are talking about.  Some say book banning really became a practice when the first books were made, but the first documented book that was banned back in 1637 in America was “New English Canaan”. A good starting point for books goes back all the way to 259-210 B.C. The main reasons for the bannings are religion, personal beliefs, and of course politics. This whole topic has been controversial and usually varies from state to state or school district to school district. At the same time, topics and content that are seen as inappropriate can vary from where you are, who you are, and what the book is. The usual process before banning a book involves it getting “challenged.”  When challenging a book you start a petition. The challenge can also fail, leading to the book not getting banned.

Over time the social norms have evolved and the idea of equality of people has grown – which has helped influence a decrease in the bannings. At the same time the banning  of books has not been less of an issue. During the last decade (2010-2020) 3,500 books have been challenged across the country. Now the main issue or effect of the bannings is the controversy. Some people see the censoring as a violation of their freedom and rights. The other side of this topic is that people find these bannings  necessary and that it promotes peace and harmony in society. Understanding and taking into consideration the other side will help release tension.

            Why do people think book banning is a good idea? There are a variety of reasons, but their main idea is to protect children and young adults. Some schools have determined that certain books don’t meet the curriculum standards and that they’re just inappropriate. I can understand this, but believe that elementary students should have certain books restricted and the older they become, then the less restrictions. Different students have different maturity levels. Some people “bad talk” books and make them seem to be more inappropriate than they are. At the same time there are books that do promote racism, abuse, and overall negative behavior.

(Credit: Lake County Public Library

As I see it, there is nothing such as a “good” or “bad” book. It takes perspective to shape what you think of something. We may not always like what the content is of a book, but branching out will help us see the world in a new perspective. Many of the reasons relate to the book containing content that relate to different communities, often referred to “minorities” – meaning the lifestyles and beliefs are not “the norm.” These books show what others go through and it gives us a variety of knowledge and outlooks.

In general, there are always different sides to a controversy. Usually, taking into consideration and understanding everyone else can relieve tension and hopefully can help in life further on.