Speak out against censoring books.
I came home from work today to a flooded google reader, and a busy twitter feed. The subject?
Wesley Scroggins, a professor at a University in Missouri is calling for the removal of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut from schools in his area.
You can find his entire 29 page letter to the district HERE. On top of calling for the removal of the above mentioned books (in which he equates the novel Speak with soft core porn – a book that deals with the subject of rape), he also calls for the removal of any similar books and high rated movies, the teaching of sex education to any grade, and the teaching of evolution, to name a few.
Slaughterhouse Five has already been removed, and Twenty Boy Summer is being reviewed.
I’ll say right up front, I have yet to read any of the three novels mentioned, but that all three have spots on my TBR list (in the cases of Speak and Slaughterhouse Five, they’ve had spots for some time). This news has come hard on the beginning of Banned Books Week starting September 25th, and I’m disgusted. NO ONE has the right to tell anyone what they can and cannot read (parents and their own children are an entirely different matter). Who has the right to judge what is vulgar or inappropriate for anyone?
I say that we need to SPEAK LOUDLY, read banned/challenged books, make your own decisions, reach out to others, spread the love, and LISTEN to those who do SPEAK.
Below is a heartwrenching poem that Laurie Halse Anderson wrote for the 10th year anniversary of Speak. In it, she uses words and phrases from the thousands of e-mails and letters she’s received since the book was published. It moved me to tears, and I have no doubt the book will as well.
Some links of interest:
A collection of SPEAK LOUDLY related posts from around the net compiled by Reclusive Bibliophile.
Laurie Halse Anderson’s initial blog post.
Censorship by Sarah Ockler, Twenty Boy Summer.
Sarah Ockler’s post on the subject.
A post on SPEAK by Cheryl Rainfield, author of Scars.
Speaking Out by C. J. Redwine