professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Danger: Ideas Ahead!

As I was driving in to the office this morning (switched office days because of the election), I was reading. With. My. Ears. I add this because I have indeed seen folks with books propped on steering wheels tooling down the freeway at high speeds (and said a prayer that somehow they survive). I am listening to THRONE OF GLASS and thoroughly enjoying the intrigue: assassins, royalty, plots. And then there was this sentence hurtling at me from the speakers: "a library full of ideas is perhaps the most dangerous weapon of all."

I know I have seen and heard variations of this in the past, but somehow this was the perfect message for me after a weekend of grading blog entries for my YA literature class. So many students commented upon how certain books would spark discussion of tough topics, how books might lead to new realizations on the part of readers, how stories could change lives.

And then I reflect on those books I have read whose ideas have been honed in flame and brought to a sharpened point to pierce my own ignorance and inexperience. And I hope that the next generation and the one after that and so on will have access to these ideas (and many more) and that the ideas will help them battle ignorance and apathy.

Not too bad for a Monday morning, eh?

But I also think of those who would keep those ideas locked up, keep them away from readers. I think of all the books banned. I think even more about the books never purchased and placed on shelves. I think of readers denied ideas that others think are too dangerous for them to discover. I think of the people who underestimate kids and their capacity to take in ideas and evaluate them: to take hold of new ideas and perhaps reject others. I think of the gatekeepers who think they are providing a service to youth when really they are doing them a huge disservice. I think of the important books, those that might provide weapons (and even armor) in the fight against intolerance, if they were only given some shelf space.

And then, I go about putting together my reading list for YA literature for the upcoming Spring semester. And I include authors and titles hoping to get those ideas, those weapons through to the front lines. I am feeling a bit warrior-like today.

And that's a good thing for a Monday, eh?
Tags: books, ideas

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