Thursday, September 30, 2010

More Banned Books Week

by Michael

As Jim pointed out earlier this week, it’s time to celebrate those books that others have tried to silence. I’m excited by the response that readers and authors have had to the situation with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, and by the fact that the attention garnered by book-banning tends to help raise the profile of said book. While keeping a book out of a library or school is a terrible thing (especially an important and amazing book like Speak), I’m grateful that the ensuing controversy makes the book all the more prominent.

One of the bigger controversies of the past few months was the one surrounding Ellen Hopkins and the Humble, Texas Teen Lit Festival. When Ellen was “disinvited” from the festival, her fellow authors decided not to appear, and the festival was cancelled. It’s terrible for the teens who didn’t get to have the event. Representing teen authors, I’ve seen first-hand how important these authors are to the readers. I’ve seen more than one kid crying and thanking an author for what they’ve written, how their life has been changed for the better. It’s hard not to get emotional about the impact books can have. But it’s important to make a stand, and I hope the teens understood the difficult decision those authors made.

But, this post was really an excuse to link to Ellen’s fantastic Anti-Censorship “Manifesto,” which you can find here. It’s short, powerful, and well worth the read.

4 comments:

  1. A copy of Speak is on a FedEx truck and headed right for my house today. I do want to read it but it is for my youngest sister-in-law who is 17. Some people may feel that it is wrong for us to buy her the book but it is an important subject and it should be out there. If people don't want read something they shouldn't but don't ban it, I don't profess to tell anyone that their values or views are wrong and I don't expect to be preached to by anyone else. It is too bad that in a country with our first amendment that we are even having to have this conversation.

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  2. Its great to see the support these authors are receiving

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  3. Thanks for pointing out Ellen's Manifesto. Strong words, honesty, courage: characteristics of an author who cares.

    It is sad that the teens did have to pay for this debacle. Wonder if other venues have been organized to replace it.

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  4. People who criticize books they haven't even read are pathetic. Their claim that keeping these books from young people protects their innocence is nonsense when you consider how many children are experiencing some of these gritty realities on a daily basis. Kids need ways to help them make sense of what is happening in their lives, they don't need clueless people deciding on their behalf what they can and can't read.

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