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Opinion: Why ‘I read banned books’

Allowing diversity of perspectives in books helps kids foster empathy and acceptance of others

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Books that were once banned are stacked together during a Banned Books Open Reading outside the University of Utah’s Marriott Library.

Books that were once banned are stacked together during a Banned Books Open Reading outside the University of Utah’s Marriott Library in Salt Lake City on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

“I read banned books” is the quote on a magnet that has been on my childhood fridge for as long as I can remember. As the daughter of a librarian, I have been shocked at recent events regarding censorship and banning of books in the Alpine School District. There are a variety of reasons why the banning of books is concerning, but the most alarming has to be that the current books being targeted are largely LGBTQ+ and POC centered. Out of the 52 books recently proposed to be banned, nearly 50% of them deal with LGBTQ+ or racial topics. 

I believe strongly in the power of books to teach empathy, broaden understanding and foster more acceptance of diversity. However, it seems as though conservative groups in Utah have gone as far as to demonize certain perspectives in literature. I urge you to speak out against this effort to censor Utah’s young people from diversity of thought. In doing so, you will be standing up for marginalized youth who are desperate to be able to read about themselves and feel like they have a right to exist.

Aspen Jones 

Orem