The Fault in Our Stars is arguably one of the most popular books right now. It’s been read (and enjoyed by readers of all ages… And, the book seems particularly poignant for me because my son was diagnosed with cancer… And, now, it’s struck me that one of the reasons they use to ban (and remove) a book from a school library was: “the subject matter involves teens dying of cancer…”

So, here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly:

  • I can understand a parent’s concern. I’m a parent. I monitor and discuss the books my kids read. I want to make sure that my kids understand (and appreciate) what they read. And, every parent has the right to oversee and (hopefully) encourage the reading of their children.
  • It should also be noted… The book was also made into a popular movie (PG-13). It’s intriguing to think that the topics (when displayed on the big screen) are appropriate for 13-year-old kids, but not allowed on the shelves of a library, where the students could select those book(s) that most appeal to them.
  • There’s also a very troubling reality… At a time when we’re working so hard to bring better awareness to the reality of Childhood Cancers (with one-in-five kids being affected, and 45 kids being diagnosed every day), some parents just don’t want their kids to know about it.
  • I know… I know… there’s the possibility of death. Not all our wishes and prayers for survival can possibly come true. That doesn’t mean that death is the only topic for conversation. There’s a whole lot of living going on.

So, what AM I saying?

I’m not saying that you (or your child) should read The Fault in Our Stars.  That’s your choice, as it should be… For every banned book, there is a reason that fault is found.

If I could make one request, though… Don’t afraid of cancer patients or survivors (you know more people who have been affected by cancer than you’d ever guess). Don’t shun those kids (and adults). It’s not the plague. It’s not catching, and all that bald little boy at the park wants to do is get outside and play (like any other kid).

Our cancer stories are not about death, though too many have left us along the way. They’re about finding ways to embrace life. We ALL need to explore just how high we can swing, and how far we can fly…

“One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It’s all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.”

We all leave our marks upon each other–with our kicking, screaming and raging at the “dying of the light”… Perhaps this book will leave a beautiful scar on you too. Banned and all…

What do you think?

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