Friday, October 1, 2010

Illicit Reading ;-)

Banned Books Week is coming to an end but there have been plenty of current examples of censorship to draw attention to its necessity. Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak was targeted for banning and authors, book bloggers, librarians, educators, and readers everywhere took action in support of the book. And best of all Laurie's publisher, Penguin Young Readers Group, ran a full page in the New York Times yesterday supporting Speak and the people who came together to #SpeakLoudly.
The First Amendment and our right to intellectual freedom are constantly challenged; even the act burning of burning books isn't just a page out of history, the pastor Terry Jones having been the most recent example when he had planned to publicly burn Qurans on September 11th. Whether on the large or small scale, censorship of books of all types is still a relevant issue. 

Earlier this month here in Texas, the Humble Independent School District (a Houston suburb) actually rescinded it's invitation to Ellen Hopkins for its teen book festival when parents complained to the school board. And then just a few days ago Ellen posted on her Facebook page that her very own home school district had pulled all her books (except Fallout which had not yet been on the shelf) from all the middle schools "without reading the books".  
I had planned to review Ellen's Crank trilogy for this week, but unfortunately I haven't had a chance to read them because of lack of time but I'll be doing so first chance I get. They're some of the most popular books in our library!

So if you're a librarian, I hope you have a display to celebrate the freedom to choose, the freedom to read, and the freedom to speak, in your library for Banned Books Week. There are still people unaware of the issue or that take the right to intellectual freedom for granted. Every year I'm surprised how many questions I still get about it all. 
And since we're all readers, get to your library to check out one of the many challenged books or even purchase them! I guarantee Speak is definitely a book you'd love to have on your shelf; it's a great book. Happy Reading!!


2 comments:

  1. Great post! I wish I had bought a copy of the NYT yesterday because I would frame their ad! This week I've read about how some of these teen books have actually saved a child. Author Carrie Ryan wrote that we need these books that cover "sensitive" topics to help our children.

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  2. thanks Suzanne:)
    and I agree with you & Carrie Ryan: it's important for kids to have access to books that cover difficult subjects. I saw JK Rowling on Oprah today and she talked about how some parents have thought her books too dark for children. I liked her response about how children live in this world too, where death happens,and September 11th happened, and hard issues surround them, so the ideal would be if the parent would read with them and discuss with them the book.

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