Freedom to Read Week is nearly over, and as a final note, we wanted to share the winning entries in our writing contest. We are always impressed with the creativity and insight shown by the students, and this year, the choice was just as difficult as always. In the end, we chose two essays and a poem that we hope will make you reflect on this freedom that we all too often take for granted. Without further ado, here are the winning entries:
Freedom by Emily G.
Freedom. Seven ordinary letters come together to form an extraordinary word. It is something many of us in North America take for granted, but many people in other countries around the world will go to tremendous lengths to obtain freedom. Take for example the story of 15-year-old, Malala Yousafzai and her struggle for education. Anyone will tell you that the foundation of education is literacy, and literacy comes from reading.
Reading is not limited just to books however. All sorts of media fall under this category. Newspapers in particular have always been a very influential form of expression, especially during the American Revolution. Newspapers offered a platform to share ideas about politics and military strategies, and they were also a way to rebel against the government itself.
During the Second World War, the freedom to read was often challenged. Any book written by a Jew of an enemy of the Nazis was burned publicly, biasedly filtering the content that children learned. In Canada today, we have an enormous number of choices when it comes to what to read: Chaucer, Tolstoy, Lewis, and Rowling to name a few popular authors, and an endless array of different genres as well. If our freedom to choose the books we read was limited, our perception would narrow along with our entire understanding of literature and the world.
Although it may seem unrelated, picture for a moment your plate at the supper table. Roast beef, potatoes with gravy, and a fresh garden salad. Each of these foods and their respective groups are vital to a balanced diet and a healthy body. Take away any of these and you’ll become moody and lethargic. The same is true with literature; take away the variety and you are left with an entire nation ignorant of the broad spectrum of learning and the immense pleasure of reading. Take away our freedom, and you injure our minds.
A New Chapter: A New World by Rachel H.
Every swish of a flipping page welcomes a fresh chapter of your life; a fresh chapter brimming with greater amounts of knowledge and a stronger understanding of the world around you than you had previously thought was obtainable. Literature is the word that plants the seeds of success and opens our eyes to the world, fostering a greater understanding of far away lands and cultures.
As stated in Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, “You will never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb inside his skin and walk around in it.” Literature provides the means to view the world through the eyes of the author and may provide information about other cultures which can build bonds between citizens around the globe. By allowing your mind to indulge in novels such as the Breadwinner Trilogy, you can truly comprehend the hardships endured by the citizens of war-torn countries. Instilling empathy into the citizens of the world by means of literature is the only way to establish peace among all of humanity.
Literature is the key that will open the door to world peace and understanding, yet governments and religious institutions around the globe still believe that it is appropriate to ban novels that are perceived to show political or cultural demerits. You must not hesitate to raise your voice against literacy bans because without the universal freedom to obtain any novel that we desire, how can we expect to truly understand each other and create worldwide harmony which will benefit us all?
Within Books by Jasmine Y.
Forward eleven years,
You might find a graveyard,
Burrowed in our mistakes,
Intense scientific nightmares,
Come adrift near our blackout,
Perhaps destiny has led us so,
But more-so, our questionable choices,
Slammed into a soulless shed.
Like the strong feet of the elephant,
Push into our selves,
Passive but stable,
There, concealed in our hearts,
Brave quotes that give life a boost,
Wise thoughts to shy away from doom.
As an infant,
So much stronger,
We march upon the bridge,
Connected to our inside world,
Only needing protection,
Against the outside world.
Without those creatures,
The parallel worlds of you and I,
The glorifying princes,
That await your arrival,
Would our minds be sucked,
Into an army of ten thousand men.
Can you feel my lungs?
Pounding with the liberation,
The colourful life we could give,
Planning a feast of words to the children,
Giving a stick to the frail,
Creating insight into another's mind,
And sharing our stories,
Woven into a thread of past.