Today, I’d like to highlight one of my favorite authors: Toni Morrison.
Toni Morrison’s work to me has been these haunting tales of loneliness, sacrifice, desperation, and turmoil. Set during some of the most difficult times for black Americans, Toni Morrison has this incredible way of making you feel and understand what it must have been like for black and African American people. You’re transported there and you gain more consciousness.
And obviously, her works have been banned or challenged.
I absolutely love banned books week. I think it’s because I’m a perpetual questioner of the rules of engagement. I always have to test things out for myself and go against what the popular thinking is. I blame my mother, who has been subversive my entire life.
But I love banned books week and I love checking out all the books that have now been banned. Can you imagine in 2017 books are still being banned because they have themes like homosexuality, teenage girls getting pregnant, drug abuse, mental illness, and…magic?!
I’ve been going through the list of books and there are so many favorite authors where everything they write is banned or challenged. Toni Morrison happens to be one of them where most of her books have been challenged or banned in some way.
I thought to myself what must authors think to see every single book they’ve written is challenged or banned?
In my mind, I hope it’s a state of pride. I imagine them puffing their chest and standing very tall knowing that they challenge something for people. They make adults uncomfortable. Their books are deemed inappropriate even if they’re written for children. And not just one book. All of their books.
Authors like JK Rowling who’s books were deemed too magical and magic is some form of satanism so that’s bad. John Green’s books are also banned or challenged too. It’s probably all those kids dying of cancer and falling in love in the final days of their lives. Who knows?
It must give them a sense of pride to know their books challenge the way people think.
And if they aren’t proud, they should be. We’re creating a world where what we say can influence what other people think. It’s a massive form of power and while not every book needs to hone that power in, those who have been judged and misunderstood should continue to do what they do.
Keep pushing the envelope and talking about those taboo topics people are so keen on sweeping under the rug. It’s important to the kids in the world and the adults who are interested to know that someone is speaking up.
Be proud of your work! Be proud to be banned or challenging. Continue to challenge the social norms of this country or your country and hopefully we’ll be all proud to say they’re not longer challenged or banned books.