18 May 2012

Today, my new blogging friend who was one of my fellow Amity Team mates is taking over my blog! Yep, while I'm away on vacation, I've asked a few of my friends to drop in with some guest post and Amanda from Hippies, Beauty and Books, Oh My! was amazing to take some time out to write this fabulous post. I hope you'll all enjoy her post as much as I did.

Reading Slumps, Sarah Dessen and Censorship

I’ve always been a reader my whole life. When I was little, I would read just about everything I could get my hands on, and this habit continued to grow as I got older. However, there was a period in my teenager years where I stopped reading all together.

My parents were getting a divorce, my best friend had passed away from Cancer, and my family didn’t have much money. I grew on a reservation (I’m Native American) and we didn’t have a library. Times were tough, but there was Sarah Dessen. I discovered her book, Someone Like You, when I was 15 years old at a friend’s house in the summer before I turned 16. I stayed up the whole night reading it and fell in love. It made me laugh, it made me cry, but most of all, it made me feel better.

I had lost my way with reading, but Sarah’s books brought me back and literally changed my life. I saved up enough money to buy all of her books by doing odd jobs for our neighbors and our community. Those books were well worn and I still have all of them. Occasionally, I will pick them up and re-read. They are the only books in my now vast collection that I can still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I first read them.

There is a reason why Sarah Dessen’s books are hugely popular with teens as well as adults. Her books are magical and they speak to you when you read them. Her characters and the scenarios they go through anyone can relate to and are largely realistic. But, the best characteristic of all is that there is always hope in every single novel. When I was going through those dark times, I found the hope in the pages of that first book and held on to it. I’ll never forget the feeling it gave me. Her books have changed the way I will read forever. I may be 27 now, but I’ll read her books for as long as she continues to write them.

I think this is why it upsets me so much when I hear about amazing books being banned because a handful of people find them distasteful or otherwise. Banning a book is no different than strapping a muzzle to a human being. Banning a book is plain and simple censorship. And censorship means the restriction of information. The restriction of information means no advancement to society or humankind, any cures for diseases. Restriction of information means no learning life’s lessons from our history to prevent another holocaust. Restriction of information means not lending experiences to other children to prevent drug abuse and deaths. Restriction of information means many, many things. 

Instead of spending so much enjoy trying to ban a book, teach tolerance. Teach freedom of religion. Stop being lazy and teach a child right from wrong. Let that child make their own decision, have their own experiences, and help society in their own way. Better yet, talk to your child about what you find inappropriate and what you deem acceptable. Look at what they bring home and talk with your children about it. Do not control try to control other people's children. If you choose not to agree with a written word, then simply ignore it, but don’t attempt to ban it. There are too many people in the world, like me, that experienced the healing power of a good book and how books can help you overcome bad situations.

I can't say THANK YOU enough for stopping by today, it's been great having you here Amanda and I'm looking forward to many blogging adventures with you in the future!

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  1. This is such a sweet post! I love that Sarah's books had the power to bring that love of reading back into your life. I'm so glad that friend had her book on the shelf right when you needed it.

  2. Yay! I am so happy that you loved my guest post! All the best to you, my friend :)


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