Harry Potter and the Chamber of Banished Books


Stack of banned books. Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ellenw/251895304/in/photostream/

Bella Bonasera, Writer

Reading is a way for people to gain experiences they could never get themselves. Whether they’re reading a biography or a fantasy novel, their views on the world can change as they read. But what if that information you want is restricted because of what someone else thought of it? 

Around the U.S, different books are being banned/censored because of what people think about them. Some books that have been censored are, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird and even The Harry Potter series, all because of the opinions of others.  One should not be restricted from a book because of what another person believes is right or wrong. Let us make that opinion for ourselves. 

As a child, you could always find me reading, and one of the first series I remember reading was The Harry Potter series. It opened my eyes to a whole world of magic and friendship. The characters helped shape me as a person, I gained Ron’s selflessness, Hermione’s determination and Harry’s sassy attitude.  If this series had been banned, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.  I wouldn’t have gone tagged along on the trio’s adventures, helped shoulder their hardships or shared their love for one another. 

Some might argue that books need to be banned. This is especially a problem with children in school. Returning back to the Harry Potter example from earlier, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post, a parent of a child in Lawrenceville, Georgia asked that the books be kept out of classrooms as they promote the practice of witchcraft. The school board attorney presented arguments against the parent’s claims and the books were kept in classrooms. Another case, according to Sun Newspapers, would be for the book To Kill a Mockingbird to be banned in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. A challenger had problems with how African-Americans were treated in the novel and feared that it could upset black students. Instead of banning the book, the school board decided to keep the book in the curriculum by having the teachers take racial-sensitivity training so they could support their black students. 

Do you see how instead of banning this book, the school board took initiative about the problem to make sure that teachers were educated enough to be able to teach and connect with their black students if they were uncomfortable? Therefore, books shouldn’t be banned as you don’t need to go straight to the extreme for a problem to be solved as there are other ways to solve it.  

Moving away from books in schools, people argue that books like Hitler’s Mein Kampf should be either censored or banned entirely because of the hateful language and concepts it contains that still affect so many today. However, we need to have access to it, so we can understand Hitler’s mindset and ideals, thus making sure the Holocaust never happens again.  Lisa Hoover from The Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association spells it out very well. Hoover said, “Anytime we choose to ban a book, or any expression, we risk removing knowledge from the world. Certainly knowledge and ideas can be dangerous. I imagine this is why Hitler himself feared and controlled books and art. But ignorance is dangerous, too.” Just because something didn’t happen to you specifically, doesn’t mean you need to be unaware that it’s happening. 

Also, consider the fact that book banning/burning was a part of Hitler’s early political tactics to gain control. It was Hitler’s ignorance in thinking that burning the ideas of those who opposed him would stop those ideas from spreading and influencing others. 

However, humans are curious creatures by heart, and restriction of knowledge only encourages them to try even harder to access it. So Hitler’s plan wasn’t really the best approach, right? We should be able to keep that information open to the public. and be able to mold their thoughts from their own thoughts because of it.  So, go form those opinions for yourself. Will the Communist Manifesto make you into a comrade? Does Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species debunk religion? Does Harry Potter really influence people to join a cult? I mean, if the Weasley Twins are gonna be there… sign me up. Keep books from being banned, so you can go make your own choices on how you view the world and influence others to do the same.