“Should We Censor What Teens Read?”

“NO!” responds Peter Brown Hoffmeister in his recent HuffPost blog. He took up the subject after another teacher questioned his assigning his students Jeanette Walls’ The Glass Castle, a book NCTE has defended many times. The teacher, like many challengers, thought the book to be “too dark” for teens to read. Hoffmeister disagrees and he ought to know.

Hoffmeister states

“these would-be book censors believe the following:
1. We need to protect young people.
2. Teenagers can’t handle gritty material.
3. Teens won’t understand what’s going on if the material is too complex.”

He then takes each of these three beliefs and refutes it.

One of my favorite points are those from his

“favorite librarian, Julie Vignol of South Eugene High School, says, ‘If teens are going to be able to vote at 18, shouldn’t they be reading the most controversial and interesting books as teenagers so they learn to think and discuss and debate and change minds? Isn’t thinking a big part of becoming a responsible voter?’”

Good thoughts for the day after the 4th of July!


About Millie Davis

Millie Davis is Senior Developer for Affiliates, and Director of the Intellectual Freedom Center at the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). In addition she works on NCTE’s communications efforts, particularly on social media. Millie's passion is working with literacy teachers across the country and beyond whose passion for their students and their students' learning is their reason for going to work each day.

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