Banned Books Week

September 18 – 24, 2022, is Banned Books Week. I’ve only recently learned there is a Banned Books Week, but I’m glad there is. I grew up in libraries. My mother was a librarian. I was the only girl in the family and on our block, so books were my companions when I couldn’t be with other girls near my age. I’ve read my way through every crisis and transition I’ve ever encountered. I cannot imagine a world without books. I detest the idea of banning books. However, my writing colleague Rochelle Melander has said it best – and put words together in her new book for younger readers. Thank you, Rochelle, for your efforts to keep people reading.

Guest Blog from Rochelle Melander

When I was in second grade, I tried to check out a chapter book from the school library. The librarian refused, pointing me to a row of picture books. I complained to my mom about having to read, “baby books.” She sent a note, the librarian budged, and I got access to the big kids’ bookshelf. I read about a spying girl, children who spend the night in a museum, and a mouse who rode a motorcycle. Then I discovered A Wrinkle in Time, and everything changed. The book follows young Meg, her brother Charles Wallace, and classmate Calvin O’Keefe as they set out on an intergalactic adventure to save Meg’s father from an evil force. The book enlarged my world.

I read everything I could get my hands on. Reading helped me in so many ways. In those pages, I discovered myself—and learned to value who I was becoming. As an artsy kid growing up in a working-class community, I desperately needed to see people like me. The stories also taught me that the world was much more diverse than my small Midwestern town. Through books, I traveled around the world and beyond. I met Stanislavsky, Michelangelo, and a cadre of interesting fictional characters who became my friends. Books changed my life.

Words Change the World

When I researched and wrote my book, Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World Through Writing, I discovered people who wrote words that created lasting change. When Charles Darwin wrote about evolution, he launched a paradigm shift that transformed thinking in many fields, including biology, psychology, and medicine. Rachel Carson wrote about the dangers of the pesticide DDT, and her words led to a government ban. In 2013, three women created the hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter on social media—and launched a movement that has transformed the conversation about race in this country. But for words to change the world, writers need readers. When people ban books, they’re not just taking away a book. They’re removing the potential for conversation and change.

I’m so grateful that I grew up with books. When I was being bullied for being different, books became my lifeline. As an author and artist educator, I worry about this generation of kids. Book banning is on the rise in the United States. When communities take away books, they’re not just discarding a story or a history book. They are taking away the life rafts these children need to survive.

Rochelle Melander is a writing and ADHD coach and the award-winning author of twelve books, including,Mightier Than the Sword: Rebels, Reformers, and Revolutionaries Who Changed the World through Writing. Through her individual and group coaching, Rochelle Melander helps writers, creatives, and entrepreneurs with ADHD overcome distractions and procrastination, turn their ideas into books, and navigate the publishing world. Visit her online at

Banning books is never a good idea. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it; but don’t try to dictate what other people read. Thanks for stopping by to read these words about books. Share it with a friend or sign up for your own free subscription at HowWiseThenYou can get a weekly article or a monthly newsletter, or both.

Mayflower Chronicles: The Tale of Two Cultures covers the Pilgrim’s escape from England and their interactions with the Pokanoket people. Available wherever books are sold in paperback, eBook, and audio. (Supporting local Indie Bookshops)
Autographed copies are available from my website or

One Comment

  1. Beth Ann Doerring

    I so agree! When I was in 5th grade the town librarian caught me heading to the adult books to read. She told me to go to the children’s section. I replied, “But I’ve read them all!” I really had and it took an act of mom to let me go back not in the children’s section!
    I read way beyond my maturity and it didn’t hurt me a bit. Reading is so necessary and needs to be challenging and world enlarging and available! No matter what!

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