Banned Books Emphasize the Right to Read

Freshman Selena Fang browses the banned books section in the library.

In honor of National Banned Books Week, librarian Sarah Morgan and the library teacher’s assistants (TAs) set up a display in the library showcasing numerous “banned” books from other schools around the country from September 26 to October 2.

According to the Banned Books Week website, the established theme for 2021 is the “celebration of the right to read.”

Some books on display include Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, and The Holy Bible.

According to Morgan, qualities that may cause a book to be banned from certain schools would be racist language, radical ideas, and violence.

“We want to raise awareness for other groups and other schools and other organizations that ban books,” Morgan said. “… We want to show everybody here at Campo what books have been banned in other schools, and that we have them here at this school so therefore you should read them.”

Freshman Selena Fang recalls reading The Call of the Wild by Jack London, a book that includes the abuse of dogs in its story.

“I think it’s good to challenge ideas of censoring books, despite the heavy content, because it exposes teenagers to bigger topics in the real world,” said Fang.

“Education communities are censoring and sheltering kids of our age from explicit topics that we should be exposed to at an earlier age. I don’t want to be ignorant in the real world, so that’s why I choose to read these books,” Fang added.

Morgan agreed, and noted how The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, previously pulled from the district’s curriculum, was banned due to the use of the N-word and racism.

“​​Do you know why it’s encouraged to read books like these? Because it reminds readers, and community members, that there are other views out there and other ways of [thinking]…[Reading these books] also encourag[es students] to think about somebody else besides just people like them, whether it’s positive or negative,” Morgan said.

“​​I want us to celebrate the freedom to read,” Morgan emphasized. “And that we have a very open library and open ideas and we respect authors’ ideas and views and we wouldn’t want to tell anyone that they can’t read something. We want everybody to think that they can read anything they want.”