In response to Conservative effort to ban books that really shouldn’t be banned, teenagers in a small Pennsylvania town have created a club specifically for reading, discussing, and understanding those banned titles. It’s awesome.
I’ve joked on my various social media accounts about getting my books banned on purpose because it’ll lead to a lot of free marketing. People will talk about them. Lists will be posted. Articles detailing books that shouldn’t be banned will be published on sites to rile up opposition. It’s brilliant, right? And now that there are legit clubs springing up specifically to read these titles, it’s looking even smarter! If only I can figure out how to do it…
But stupid jokes aside, I legit love what these kids are doing. Anything that gets teenagers reading classics like Animal Farm or stories that teach them about racism and LGBTQ issues is a big ol’ positive in my book. Seeing kids standing up for their right to a complete education is fantastic. Oh, school won’t let you read that? Read it anyway. School is good and important and teachers are heroes, but it’s important to recognize when such an institution is being inhibited and take it upon yourself to fill in the gaps.
Note: this does not mean you should go listen to Joe Rogan and read a bunch of anti-vax crap. It means you should follow these kids’ lead in identifying useful resources for expanding your awareness in productive ways. You know, like reading me.
I hope what’s happening in Kutztown takes off and becomes a model elsewhere. Every town should have a banned book club, regardless of what state they’re in. As I wrote last week, I think building a community is the most important think we can all do in the face of all the weird bullshit screwing with our lives. The Banned Bookclub of Kutztown, Pennsylvania embodies that in such a smart, powerful way. My hat’s off to those kids!