On the Wisdom of Banning Books (Hint: There Isn't Any)

Jerome Middle School was recently embroiled in a censorship battle. The book in question was a Japanese light novel/manga (also known as graphic novel or comic depending on what year you were born). I’m weighing in as an author, board member of the Idaho Writers Guild, Boise Public Library volunteer, former writer-in-residence appointed by the Boise Department of Arts and History as part of their Artist-in-Residence program, and mother of two.
When the appropriateness of a book’s place on a library shelf comes into question, the parties involved would be well served to consider the following in terms of what they hope to accomplish:
▪  Banning a book only serves to increase interest in that particular title. This is why banned books become best sellers. Censoring a book from a library does not make the book go away. It only makes it more desirable.
▪  Manga, graphic novels or comics often serve as the bridge between nonreaders and chapter books. Young people who struggle with reading or an interest in reading often transform into avid readers after discovering this type of media. Consider the following from the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity:
Graphic novels provide struggling readers with a way of strengthening their vocabularies, build their reading confidence, and foster their appreciation of story. Graphic novels can also help support a reader’s understanding of everything from Greek Mythology to Shakespeare. (http://dyslexia.yale.edu/EDU_KidsCantWait.html)
▪  The legacy left by a crusader against any book is not a positive one. It communicates distrust in youth and a misguided effort to dictate based on personal preferences. Censors place themselves in league with those who railed against To Kill a Mockingbird and Where the Wild Things Are, no matter how one might try to tell oneself “this case is different.”
▪  Children deserve far more credit than we afford them. Their ability to process media and its commentary on society is considerable. To assume less of them or think that they will be corrupted from something on their library shelf is a disservice to them and the entire system of education.
▪  Conversation is far more effective than attempting to control the words and images young people encounter. Acknowledging issues of concern can lead to healthy and open discussion. Trying to restrict children to the parts of the world that suit an individual is an exercise in futility, willful denial of the reality of modern adolescent life and an act of suppression that breeds contempt.
Before we, as adults, object to the content our youth consume, we must strive for perspective, clarity and understanding. Further, we must remind ourselves of what censorship truly does (and does not) achieve.
As printed in the Idaho Statesman

AK Turner on How to Raise a Maverick

My latest podcast appearance was on an awesome new show called How to Raise a Maverick, hosted by Emily Gaudreau. She's a fierce advocate for children and a mom who knows that protecting your kids doesn't mean shielding them from the world. She also has some pretty crazy travel stories of her own.

We talk about:

The value of finding your own path 
The ridiculousness of mommy guilt
The benefits of traveling with children
Education models and options 
Fostering an entrepreneurial spirit
How to expand your cultural knowledge without leaving home

There are also practical travel tips including what basically amounts to a commercial for Imodium. 
Maybe Imodium could be my corporate sponsor?! 
While I work on getting that arrangement set up, check out the How to Raise a Maverick podcast as well as The Three Traits of Maverick Parents.


Want more on educating kids? Check out:

Making the Switch to Homeschooling

I know, it's crazy. After all, I was the mom who audibly groaned at the mention of homeschooling. The idea terrified me. Terms like unschooling and worldschooling were less scary, but I basically still equated them with homeschooling. So what caused me to make the switch? It's complicated. And also very simple. 

AK Turner on EOFire with John Lee Dumas

I had the pleasure of appearing on EOFire with John Lee Dumas. If you know anything about the world of podcasting, this one is definitely the cream of the crop, an award-winning show, named Best of iTunes, and now I can say I've been featured alongside some of his other guests you might have heard of... Tony Robbins, Seth Godin, Gary Vee, Tim Ferriss, Brian Tracy, et al.

10 Awesome Things About Visiting Todos Santos with Kids

Todos Santos, BCS, Mexico.
The sunrises here do not suck. 
#1 Taco Stands
Feeding a family of four for under ten bucks is pretty darn cool. Don't be afraid to try all the taco stands in town. Each will have its own specialty (pescado, pastor, camarón, carnitas, carne asada, pollo) and a variety of condiments with which to spiffy up your meal. My seven-year-old is partial to pico de gallo, her sister likes them plain Jane, my husband piles on the jalapeños, and I love the pickled onions. Everybody's happy. 

If you're not moved by watching baby sea turtles hatch and make their way to the ocean, you have no soul. Attending a sea turtle release facilitated by this organization is free, but do the right thing and offer a donation.

So cute, it hurts.

Inspirational Creatives

I had the pleasure of chatting with Rob Lawrence of the Inspirational Creatives podcast on the benefits of travel and the importance of breaking free from conventional thinking. If you like what you hear, you can give Rob a review on iTunes here.