Friday, April 6, 2012

Books are Our Friends

Last Sunday's Boston Globe included a wonderful treatise, "Let Us Now Praise Libraries," by Anthony Doerr. In it, Doerr explores the joy of reading for its own sake. He reminises about visiting the public library every Friday after school, remembering the variety of books he checked out. Some he liked, and some he didn't, but what he reflects on now is "No one ever told [him] no. Not [his mother], not the prim librarians stamping return dates onto slip after slip. No one ever said: This book is outside your age range; this book is too complicated."

My own parents allowed me to select my own reading materials. They never insited on knowing what I checked out from the library, and kept books on drugs, sex, art, and fantasy on the shelves at our home, which my sister, brother, and I could access any time. Occasionally, if they were curious about something we read, they would read it themselves, and then we might talk about it. My husband and I have followed suit with my own daughter. The results: a family who loves to read, and can talk intelligently about what they've read. Would-be censors and book banners are too often afraid of someone thinking differently than they do. By allowing children to read a variety of things, of their own choosing they learn to form their own opinions. Isn't that what a democratic society is supposed to do?

No comments:

Post a Comment