Parents in Military Town Try to Ban Books Because ... Middle East

Books are some of the greatest tools we have to teach kids about other people, places, and cultures, but not everyone sees them that way. In a Florida military town, a group of parents are fighting to ban two books about the Middle East conflict because they say their kids are too young to know about war.


The books in question are called Nasreen's Secret School and The Librarian of Basra. One tells the story of a girl's fight for her right to an education in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and the other is about an Iraqi librarian struggling to protect her community's book collection in the face of war.

Jacksonville parents started a petition to have the books removed from school library shelves because they say their children are too young to know about war and "the horrors of the world," despite the fact that many have parents who have been deployed. Some are also worried the books promote prayer to a non-Christian god.

The district's superintendent thinks banning books is a bad idea and most of his colleagues seem to agree with him. In a vote to approve the district's reading list, only one board member voted against the two books.

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It's interesting that these parents are so intent on banning books that are essentially about protecting books and free thought and how hard people have to struggle for their right to learn. If anything, you'd think these stories would make parents and children grateful for access to public education and a well-stocked library where they can go to learn about anything they can imagine.

I understand the conflict in the Middle East is a sensitive subject, especially if you have friends and family members who have served in our military, but it's still important for kids to learn about other cultures and ways of life. It's important for them to know what all this fighting is for.

A child who has seen a parent go to war is not too young to learn about it. If anything, they need things that will help them make sense of what's going on. Banning books might seem like an easy way to protect kids from messages you don't want them seeing, but in the end you're only hurting them by limiting their understanding of the world and the people in it.


Image via Amazon

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