If you didn’t already know, Banned Books Week 2019 is September 22nd – 28th. Every year on the last week of September we celebrate the freedom to read whatever we want!
This year’s theme is “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark” and we’re taking a look at one of the most frequently banned book series of all time: Harry Potter.
According to the American Library Association, Harry Potter was banned because the books “promote witchcraft, set bad examples and are too dark.”
Earlier this month, Bookstacked published an article of a Catholic school in Nashville, TN banning the popular series because parents believed the spells would actually summon evil spirits. However, J.K. Rowling came up with the spells using Latin (which is where most of our English words come from anyway) and created her own spell-language. Another reason why Harry Potter was banned: Harry was a rule-breaker at school and this should not be a trait of a hero. What 11-year old, or any teen for that matter, is not some sort of rule breaker? Furthermore, Harry’s rule-breaking helped the greater good in the end.
One of the biggest issues I have with the reasoning for the ban is Harry Potter being “too dark” for young readers. Of course the last few books are darker, but when these books were being written, the readers were growing up with Harry and his classmates. By the time an 11-year old reader who began the series in 1997 finished the Harry Potter series in its entirety in 2007, they were 21! At 21, I was in my senior year of college and the Harry Potter series was not “too dark” for me to handle.
While I do not believe parents should let their children read — or even watch — whatever they want, I do believe parents should read or watch something before denying their child the ability to do so. They should also research the meanings behind certain books before jumping to conclusions. Harry Potter transcends generations and should continue to be enjoyed by all. Unfortunately, this won’t be the last we hear of the Harry Potter series being banned, I’m sure.
Check out our other banned books articles here.