The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

Another Book Bites the Dust (because parents can’t talk to their kids about language and sex).


I don’t think that I can fully express how sad it makes me to see a book get banned – especially from a school. A group of adults who tell children, or teens, or young adults, that they are not allowed to read a piece of literature, because they are afraid the content will taint them in someway. The Glen Ellyn School District 41 has pulled Stephen Chbosky’s Perks of Being a Wallflower from the shelves of their library. While the vote was challenged, the ruling was upheld, and students at the school are now unable to do what they should be asked to do at school: read, learn, discuss, and explore literature.

Much like Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Chbosky’s book presents a story about a boy who is lost, and attempting to find his place in the world, in his family, in his school, and most importantly, in himself. He goes through things that most normal high school boys will experience, and this seems to scare parents who have been unwilling to discuss those same issues with their children. Maybe it’s because I came from a household where open communication was valued above everything else, but I do not understand the parents that simply avoids difficult conversations. I’ve never been a parent, but in talking to several of them, the conversations about growing up, and sex, and drugs, and life in general can be incredibly difficult and scary, but they are necessary – especially if you want a family built on trust, and a child to feel safe at all times.

For example, a parent at the school purchased a copy of the book for both herself and her child:

Meanwhile, Blyth said she bought two copies of the book. One for herself and one for her daughter who is entering high school next school year.

“It was really touching to hear the kids have such passion for the book,” Blyth said. “Personally, I think books are a pretty safe way to encounter some of life’s more difficult situations.”

I commend this parent for her wonderful ability to recognize a difficult situation, and not only read the book with her child, but be willing to face the conversations about the book .

The article also states that after the band, the book was selling like hotcakes at the local bookstore. Any press is good press, right? Besides, kids tend to enjoy being rebels, and what’s more rebellious than doing something that’s banned.

For the full article, click HERE.

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

2 comments on “Another Book Bites the Dust (because parents can’t talk to their kids about language and sex).

  1. Doran Simmons
    May 13, 2013

    I hate the idea of banning books. It seems so insane to try and censor ideas, especially in a school. But no ban can keep books from those who want to read. Don’t read this book for school. Read it for you.

  2. kiwiskan
    May 13, 2013

    Haven’t read the book so can’t really comment – except it seems a bit stupid to ban it at school when it is freely available elsewhere.

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