Young people enduring the wrath of bullies for their sexual orientation, appearance, ethnicity, whatever, are your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, and your readers. Those who ban books are another type of bully, forcing their beliefs on others by working to limit choices for young people walking into a library. One must wonder how many teens could be helped by learning, through books, that they are not alone, that others have gone through what they've gone through and survived, that It Gets Better.
On Tuesday I spoke to a packed house in Columbus, Georgia. I talked about my journey to New
York Times bestselling author -- a road pitted with pain. (My first novel, "Crank," was inspired by my daughter's descent into the hell that is methamphetamine addiction.) Afterward, I signed books, and as the room emptied one lovely young woman remained. She came forward and when I asked her name, she crumbled into tears.
Penguin 'Times' Ad Defends 'Speak' (PW)
Responding to an attack by an associate professor in Missouri who called Speak "soft pornography," the Penguin Young Readers Group took out a full page ad in today’s New York Times to defend the novel by Laurie Halse Anderson. In an op-ed piece earlier this month in the Missouri News-Leader, Wesley Scroggins, associate professor of management at Missouri State University, wrote that Speak was not appropriate for students of the Republic School District and also challenged Slaughterhouse-Five and Twenty Boy Summer. “That such a decorated book could be challenged is disturbing,” said Penguin’s Shanta Newlin about the decision to run an ad. With Banned Books Week now in full swing (Sept. 25-Oct. 2), Penguin believes the ad points to the larger issue of books still being challenged in large numbers across the country, Newlin added. The ad, in fact, notes that "every day in this country, people are being told what they can and can't read," and it asks Times readers to "read the book. Decide for yourself."
Lauren Myracle Tops Most Frequently Challenged Book List (GalleyCat)
Lauren Myracle has been singled out as the chart-topper on 2009's top 10 most frequently challenged books. Her Internet Girls series have spawned a writer in many "un-fans" as she calls them. Myracle receives at least 10 "un-fanmail" pieces per day. She’s been accused of satanism, pedophilia, and youth corruption.
Let GLBT Teens Know 'It Gets Better' (Ypulse)
Longtime Ypulse readers know we're strong advocates of fostering tolerance for GLBT teens. Whether it be through more realistic, multifaceted portrayals in the media, movements on the ground like GSA alliances, or online resources dedicated to supporting and celebrating them for who they are, wherever they are.
10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week (NYT)
Held annually during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of intellectual freedom and draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted banning of books across the United States, including books commonly taught in secondary schools.
Banned Books Week (PW)
Banned Books Week runs September 25-October 2. Celebrating it’s 29th year, the American Library Association received 460 challenges. According to the ALA, “people challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups–or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature.”
Banned Book Week Goes Viral (Ypulse)
Let intellectual freedom ring! Banned Book Week (Sept. 24 – Oct. 2) is underway and libraries, classrooms and bookstores across the country are celebrating. To commemorate the 8 days of advocacy, we thought we'd highlight some of the best viral-friendly strategies for spreading the anti-censorship message on the web and beyond.