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The most obscene word

So here comes Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of figuratively smacking people upside the head and asking them, "Are you serious?? Who do you think you are?"

Parents have the right, and the obligation, to monitor and control what their own children read. Their own children. Not my children.

Even so, I wish parents would give their own kids a little more leeway when it comes to reading books (see purple prose below).

Every time you turn around, you hear people lamenting that kids won't read books any more. Then you turn around and people are trying to take books out of kids' hands.

Make up your minds, people.

Better yet, just let the kids read.

Author Laurie Halse Anderson says it very eloquently here, and she knows whereof she speaks. Her entire post is important reading, but my favorite line is here, and sums it all up:

"Storytelling is the traditional vehicle mankind uses to pass wisdom from one generation to the next."


Yes! Crikey, wouldn't you rather they read about it in a book than do it themselves? Let them get wise by reading.

But that's almost beside the point.

The Point: If you, as a parent, or citizen, or whoever you are, even suggest controlling what other people's children will or will not read, by any means...

that's censorship.

And in a free society, censorship is obscene.

What's the Word?

The word is out
That word is out
How did such a vile offense
Ever come about?

“It’s right there on page one,” they said.
"It's in a book for tots."
But we all know that tots should not
Be told the truth, oh goodness not.

The truth is not for tender minds.
It’s tantamount to thinking.
And then before we know it
They’re opining

And now the word
That nasty word
On children’s tongues is floatin’.
How dangerous
And never mind
That half those children tote ‘em.

But nonetheless
That’s not the point
That’s neither here nor there.
What matters is, the word it out
It’s hanging in the air.

And damaged, tainted, blemised
Will our children ever be
By  s -- c -- r -- o -- t -- u -- m.
What’s next?
F -- a -- r -- t ?

Thanks to Jo Knowles (jbknowles) for the poetry challenge.



Jump the Cracks
Stacy DeKeyser ~~ Author of books for teens
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January 2011


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