One of my favorite books –The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini- made the Office for Intellectual Freedom’s 2014 top ten most frequently challenged books list. Set in the chaos of the fall of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the eventual rise of the Taliban regime, The Kite Runner tells the story of a young boy from Kabul and contains some offensive language and plenty of violence- some of it graphic and stomach-turning.
The week of September 27−October 3, this week, is Banned Books Week in the US. According to the American Library Association, Banned Book Week is an annual event “celebrating the freedom to read.” Typically held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types- in “shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”
The challenge to The Kite Runner is –in my opinion- valid. I wouldn’t want my 13 year old reading it without guidance. And isn’t that my choice to make? Shouldn’t I, as a responsible parent, be aware and monitoring my child’s reading choices? The answer is a resounding YES!
The Kite Runner is a beautiful book, full of friendship, heartbreak, heroism and cowardice. It reveals an Afghanistan many of us can’t imagine and is a great book to use in discussions of Afghan culture, religion, class divisions and the importance of friendship. It is a book I would be pleased to discuss with my high school age children.
This week –Banned Books Week- take a moment to appreciate our basic constitutional right to freedom of thought and pick up a book that challenges you.