In 2006, Laura Mallory began her crusade to keep her kids from reading the Harry Potter series. Unfortunately, her persistence and insistence that Harry Potter books are evil and encourage interest in the Wicca religion has now infringed upon the rights of other Gwinnett County Public Schools students, including two of mine. I do not disagree with Mallory’s desire to keep her kids from reading Rowling’s books; however, when one mom’s beliefs infringe upon those of other people, then I believe that we all suffer. That’s why I have a problem with this particular ‘crusade,’ no religious pun intended.
Anyone who has ever worked with adolescents, especially males, and then Black and Latino males, knows that they lose interest in Reading (assuming they ever possessed it) at around that age. As the mother of a 14 year-old boy, I can honestly say that I was ecstatic when he wanted to read the 800-page ‘Order of the Phoenix’ book without any cajoling from me or his teachers. He has not lost his love of Reading; however, finding high-interest materials for him has been a challenge.
The argument can be made that parents can still buy the books or borrow them from the local libraries, but then we would have to remove all C.S. Lewis books for the religious references, Hemingway for Anti-Semitism, Faulkner and Twain for racism, etc., etc., etc. Our country already has a dismal literacy rate. Such trivial debates about what is best for everyone will only exacerbate the problem. Ask me how I know? My daughter’s third grade teacher had to remove a Patricia Palacco book from her classroom because it is not on the ‘approved’ book list.
Thank you Laura Mallory!