Why Banning Books is ‘just wrong’

During National Banned Books Week, ASU Professors James Blasingame and Sybil Durand discuss issues in Q&A

Sex, profanity and violence: Two of the foremost experts on censorship in young adult literature say that no other topics are more likely to get a book banned.

However, in a ranging Q&A session to mark the start of national Banned Books Week, ASU English professors James Blasingame and Sybil Durand say shielding readers does more harm than good.

“If we’re preparing our young people to be adults,” Blasingame said, “then they’re ready to read about adult subjects.”

Banned Books Week promotes the freedom to read and brings books that have been challenged during the year into the spotlight. Since 1982, more than 11,000 books have been challenged by schools, public libraries and bookstores, according to the American Library Association. This annual commemoration aims to explore the effects of censorship while encouraging people to read a banned book and exercise their First Amendment rights.

“I imagine that the persistence of book banning and censoring has something to do with adults having a limited understanding of the realities that many young people face in their daily lives. When people challenge books, their argument is often that these books convey ideas that they do not think are appropriate for youth to learn,” said Durand.

“We want kids to read about these adult situations before they face them in person,” Blasingame said.

To read the full Q&A, visit ASU Now.

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