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Highschool Student Creates Lending Library of Banned Books in Empty Locker

An awesome teenager going by the (probably pseudonymous) name of Katniss Atreides is apparently keeping banned books in an empty locker adjacent to his/her own locker, and lending them to fellow students.

The high-school student explains in his/her own words how this came to pass:

I go to a private school that is rather strict. Recently, the principal and school teacher council released a (very long) list of books we’re not allowed to read. I was absolutely appalled, because a large number of the books were classics and others that are my favorites. One of my personal favorites, The Catcher in the Rye, was on the list, so I decided to bring it to school to see if I would really get in trouble. Well… I did but not too much. Then (surprise!) a boy in my English class asked if he could borrow the book, because he heard it was very good AND it was banned! This happened a lot and my locker got to overflowing with the banned books, so I decided to put the unoccupied locker next to me to a good use. I now have 62 books in that locker, about half of what was on the list. I took care only to bring the books with literary quality. Some of these books are:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
His Dark Materials trilogy
The Canterbury Tales
The Divine Comedy
Paradise Lost
The Godfather
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Animal Farm
The Witches
… and lots more.

Anyway, I now operate a little mini-library that no one has access to but myself. Practically a real library, because I keep an inventory log and give people due dates and everything. I would be in so much trouble if I got caught, but I think it’s the right thing to do because before I started, almost no kid at school but myself took an active interest in reading! Now not only are all the kids reading the banned books, but go out of their way to read anything they can get their hands on. So I’m doing a good thing, right? Oh, and since you’re probably wondering “Why can’t you just go to a local library and check out the books?” most of the kids are too chicken or their parents won’t let them but the books. I think that people should have open minds. Most of the books were banned because they contained information that opposed Catholisism. I limit my ‘library’ to only the sophmores, juniors and seniors just in case so you can’t say I’m exposing young people to materiel they’re not mature enough for. But is what I’m doing wrong because parents and teachers don’t know about it and might not like it, or is it a good thing because I am starting appreciation of the classics and truly good novels (Not just fad novels like Twilight) in my generation?

The post is well-written enough that it makes me suspicious of its veracity. But oh, I hope it’s true. When I was 16, 17, I read a lot, sure, but I was far too self-involved and apathetic to goings-on around me to ever have started something like this. I hope it’s real, and I hope that if he/she gets caught, the administration has the good sense to realize what a great, special kid this is, rule-breaking or not, and go easy on the punishment.

And of course, I hope the kids keep reading, and fighting to read, and not taking no for an answer. Reading is important. When we read, it allows us to enter the experiences, perspectives and lives different from our own, which can only make us more tolerant and more accepting of all walks of life. That’s a good thing.

And to be blunt, children are going to find, even seek out, even discuss sex, swearing, violence, drugs, whatever else we worry about and misguidedly, with the best intentions, attempt to protect them from. If we’re open with our children, and educate them, and teach them critical thinking, make them feel safe to ask questions; if we’re honest with them, and give them some credit to make good choices; if we arm our children with a strong sense of self-worth and a refusal to stop learning, how can we try to hide the world from them? Rather, we should learn with them, answering and asking questions along the way, enriching our lives with the wonderful opportunity into other lives that books provide.

Reading is important. To deny or limit a child in that capacity is to deny them growth.

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