The value of banned and challenged books by Cyndi

When reading the top ten most challenged books of 2012, I was surprised to see Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series in the top slot.  My next thought was “Why I am surprised, the series is called Captain Underpants, of course it is going to offend?!”  It is obvious to me that Dav Pilkey remembers not only what it is like to be young, but the humor that appeals to young boys especially.  I remember desperately searching for any book that would grab and hold my young son’s attention.  I found my answer in the silly, potty-humor adventures of underdogs George and Harold as they battled the evil force of adult authority.  The very things that make this book a target for challenges are the same qualities that engaged my young son.  Suddenly he recognized the entertainment value books could offer.  He looked forward to the next book in the series as we branched out to Pilkey’s Dragon and Dumb Bunny series.  Although many years have passed since we sat on the couch and laughed our way through these outrageously silly adventures, I will always remember that this series was the key that opened the door to the world of books for my son.  As parents we may be tempted to steer our children into what we deem to be a more proper reading direction, but the cost of our insistence may be alienation.  Allowing our children the freedom to read and be read to purely for entertainment, to laugh at the silly, introduces them to the world of reading in a most welcoming manner.  I will always prefer the sound of a child’s belly laugh when reading something silly over the silence of a book that sits on the shelf unread.