Banned Books Week: Our right to read, September 24-30, 2017

Carly Basler

One of the dedicated group of students fought to keep "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" in schools
Glen Ellyn School District
Glen Ellyn, Ill.

How did you hear about the book challenge in your community and why did you take action?

I heard about the book being challenged through kids just talking about it in the hallway, and I didn’t really know if it was true until my friends Cate, Nicole and Olivia asked me if I wanted to sign the petition and be part of the group to try and save the book. This book really changed me and I didn’t want to just stand by and see it be ban, when it could save so many kids.

You can get books at the library or store, why should we care about a book being removed from one class of students or one community?

I live in unincorporated Glen Ellyn, so a library card is not free for me. It’s around $250-$300, which is an outrageous cost that no one should have to pay. And a lot of people can’t afford that, I know I can’t. As for the Book Store, books can get pretty pricey, and most parents don’t want to waste money on something you can get for free at the school. Extra money that some kids would want for books, are used to put food on the table, provide clothes, and necessities like that. When a lot of parents have to work two jobs so they can provide for their family, there isn’t much extra cash just floating around.

Why do you think being aware of book challenges or bans is important to our country today?

I think it is important to be aware of this because a lot of books that are being banned, are books that yes may have some mature content, but also have content that help kids, save kids, and keep them going. If I hadn’t heard about this book being challenged, it could have been ban. This book could have been taking away, and many kids that need it could never get the opportunity to read it.

Who inspires you? Who is your hero?

My inspiration and hero is WWE wrestler CM Punk. He is my hero for so many reasons, one being he taught me to have a voice, and to stand up for what I believe in. Learning about Punks life and career, there is one thing that everybody sees, that he is himself and he doesn’t let anyone take that away from him. He stands up for what he believes in, even if there is no one standing next to him. Growing up Punk didn’t have many friends, kids thought he was weird and different but that never stopped him from being who he knew he was.  Without Punk, I don’t think I could have done what I did. Stand up in front of so many people, be on the news, read off my opinion, and then have hate thrown at me. As Punk says, “Haters are my favorite. I’ve built an empire with the bricks they’ve thrown at me. Keep on hating.” Even though I’ve never met Punk personally, he has spoken to me. He has shown me things, which I will carry throughout my life that often people see right through and ignore. But I listened and I’m glad I did.