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Carol Kocivar: Banned Books For Christmas

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Preparing a holiday shopping list? Carol Kocivar has an idea in tune with the times.

This year I decided to give my grandchildren banned books. Yup. Real banned books.

There is a certain amount of sweet satisfaction in giving banned books as Christmas presents. There are lots of choices.

Do I want to give books that some think are too scary, or promote the occult, or contain objectionable language? How about books people want banned because they are too violent or include racial themes? Or, my goodness, books that recognize the LGBTQ+ community?

What I really want to give my grandchildren is the idea of freedom of speech. That they have the right to read books that others may not like, and that age-appropriate history lessons about uncomfortable events are important. That they can learn about a diverse and complex world


In looking over my shopping list of banned books, I discovered that I had read many of the banned books to my children when they were young. “Where the Wild Things Are”. Be warned. It promotes witchcraft and supernatural events. Charlotte’s Web: Talking animals? Really?

Harry Potter? The Wizard of Oz? Dr. Seuss? Where’s Waldo? Where the Sidewalk Ends? The Diary of Anne Frank?

You’ve got to be kidding.

Banning children’s books from schools and libraries is a threat not only to freedom of speech but also to our commitment to teach our children well. Children need to learn about other cultures. They need to learn history, uncensored

This holiday season is your chance to speak out against censorship and to support the free expression of ideas. Whatever you celebrate, there is a banned book that can help children learn compassion, value diversity, and think critically.

Let the shopping begin.

With a Perspective, this is Carol Kocivar.

Carol Kocivar is a former head of the California PTA and has worked as a journalist, attorney and ombudsman for special education.

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