Censorship in Children’s Literature

It was very disconcerting to learn of the different filters that are applied to library tools. I agree with Angela Maycock, in,”Issues and Trends in Intellectual Freedom for Teacher Librarians” article, that it would be better for librarians to show children and patrons how to utilize the tools properly rather than censoring what they are searching for. Library’s are a safe space for people of all backgrounds and it should have the tools that everyone needs to feel comfortable with who they are. I have a friend who in high school couldn’t do research on his hometown of Cumming, GA because it was censored for inappropriate language. If we want to create great minds we want to teach them how to use the tools at their disposal without limiting their interests and ways of life because the company, school board, community, etc. does not understand or want to deal with the curiosity of youth.

And Tango Makes Three was such an adorable book I was surprised that it had been challenged so many times. Yes there is a gay penguin couple but the people that can relate to that book are not just LGBTQ but people who have rainbow children (kids born after miscarriages), people who cannot have children, etc. When a child reads this book they see adorable penguins expanding their family they don’t understand the ins and outs of the relationship between Roy and Silo. Children are taught to judge or dislike they do not inherently do so from birth. If we make a big deal out of an issue they will too. It was difficult to read that the issues were not about the illustrations or the story line but more specifically the LGBTQ connotations within the book. The creators of the book wanted to support inclusion and this is a wonderful story to do it with. It is a true story of penguins at the Central Park zoo so children could learn more about them if they wanted and it is an easy way to explain to other children what their family is like.

As someone who supports and cherishes the LGBTQ community I find it heartbreaking that challenges are made or filters are added that might hinder this community or any other for that matter. I am a firm believer that understanding one another is the best way to get along and avoid conflict. Everyone won’t be best friends but if we came at things from a perspective of this is your life and you are not hurting anyone so live it to the fullest I think it would be a better place. Children should have books that can relate to their lives so they feel special and included in the world. Literature is our escape from the real world and its where we learn so many things to limit that for anyone is a detriment to us all.

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