Take time to read freely and widely | SummitDaily.com

Take time to read freely and widely

We live in a fairly open-minded community, so it’s easy to take our freedoms for granted.

Take reading, for example. Though the Summit School District has a policy to address parental challenges of books, it hasn’t been a problem. But, across the nation, groups still request libraries and schools to remove certain books from the shelves.

For the fourth year in a row, the Harry Potter series has topped the list of most challenged books because of its focus on magic. In fact, in a list of most challenged books from 1990 to 2000, Potter ranked seventh.

Madonna’s book, “Sex,” ranked well below Potter’s harmless magic – at 19th. It seems book challengers believe a little wand waving poses more of a threat to a child’s healthy development than Madonna’s explicit photographs of bondage and multiple partners.

The ranking speaks to the lack of a common-sense, big picture viewpoint many book challengers take.

During this week of national banned book awareness, Banned Books Week, the American Library Association encourages Americans to celebrate their intellectual freedom – the right to seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction.

Banned books hold lessons for youth. Kids and curiosity go together, and they can only grow if adults give them the opportunity to explore.

Allowing young people to read banned books – especially when guided by adults – can spark open discussion, help them understand and debate real-life issues, accept cultural differences and a changing society and encourage creative and critical thinking.

The more we expose ourselves – and our children – to, the more open-minded we can become. And that leads to a more peaceful world.

Opinions published in this space are formulated by members of the Summit Daily News editorial board: Michael Bennett, Jim Pokrandt, Jason Starr, Rachel Toth, Reid Williams, Kim Nicoletti and Martha Lunsky.

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