Tracking an Author: Paul Ringel

Taking a look once again into the career of Paul Ringel, I found an Atlantic article very interesting to the aspiring librarian in me: “How Banning Books Marginalizes Children.” It made sense that Ringel would write about this, as he is a historian of children’s literature and this is certainly something that would crop up when studying what children read and why. In this article, Ringel discusses how banning books because of “inappropriate content” marginalizes children’s experiences rather than protecting the children themselves. In the history of banning books, it is important to look at the timeline with a historiographer’s lens rather than a 21st century view. Parents often made cases for books to be removed from school libraries for descriptions of violence or for rude language (think of the controversy over “To Kill A Mockingbird”). A picture book called “I Am Jazz” tells the story of a transgender girl was banned because it was called “anti-Christian.” In this article, Ringel steps back, observes the timeline, and closes the article with his own argument – very in-line with most other articles I have read by him. Ringle reserves his own ideas/thesis until he has presented a historical facts in a chronological order, and only afterwards will he put forth his own beliefs.


Meghan Brody

Meghan Brody. B.A. History & Writing. LSA Senior. Aspiring librarian.

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