The drive to ban a book is driven by one or two motives: book challengers wish to protect or control. There is a fine line between protecting and controlling.
Person A, when he's upset and deeply disturbed by a book, wants to protect others from having a similar negative experience by suggesting a book ban. Yet the trouble, of course, is that what bothers someone deeply may be treasured and loved by another. If we let whoever gets offended dictate book bans there will simply be no library. There are books I like with religious connotations, like A Wrinkle in Time, which I know some people have challenged because religious messages bother them. So, when I come across a book that really puts me off I try to remember that the freedom to read A Wrinkle in Time is only guaranteed because others are allowed to read what they want as well and that includes books I find repulsive, false or potentially dangerous.
After much thought, I feel these rights ought to be extended to minors as well. I understand the motivation to protect and minors do need protection but do not forget to respect children and teenagers. Respect their right as growing people to make choices about what is wrong and right. Respect their intellectual pursuit, through reading, of figuring out what they believe about the world. Discuss the issues they are reading about -- don't attempt to ban the issues by banning the book because, well, you can't. The issues are here to stay. If we want kids to be strong thinkers, and not just sponges soaking up every idea they come across, then we must allow them to flap their wings, intellectually with reading, when they are ready and be there to support them if they are unsure of the ideas they encounter in the atmosphere in which we live.
Reading is an intellectual pursuit whether it's a romance novel or a graduate student's dissertation that one reads. Reading is a quiet conversation with oneself of which the text is a catalyst. Reading prompts thinking, thinking prompts creativity and creativity solves problems. Encourage reading and support Intellectual Freedom!
Banned Books Week is celebrated Sept. 24-Oct. 1st, 2001. To find out more, visit ALA's website.