I don't know if you guys have all heard, but Laurie Halse Anderson's book Speak (too soon to call it a modern classic?) has run into some trouble again. (Honestly, reading this stuff, I almost don't believe this guy is a real person.)
On BookRiot, blogger and librarian Kelly Jensen responded with a well-thought-out and articulate response. This, of course, elicited a response from the original "journalist" who wrote the piece about Speak being "child pornography" in the comments, which are incredible to read through. Incredible for many reasons, not only for how circular the man proposing the ban's arguments are (he all but admits he's never read the book), but also for how universal and united the commenters are in their responses to his arguments. It's all worth reading.
Here are some more links of note regarding this incident.
Kelly's blog post at Stacked responding to what happened on BookRiot, and some more links of note.
Laurie Halse Anderson's response.
Kelly's response to the comment page on The Huffington Post when her original post was put up there. (Also, really commenters? Librarians only know how to shelf books? Please—your ignorance is showing.)
After the 2010 challenge on Speak, which I wrote about on my personal blog, I know there are plenty of people interested in following these kinds of challenges and controversies in the book blogging world. I just wanted to make sure anyone who is interested in reading about this gets a chance to see the whole thing as it unfolded, Internet style.
I am interested. I don't understand why these types of issues seem to keep popping up. I'm a teen and I will read what I want, whether it's adult, MG, picture books, or ANY sort of YA.ReplyDelete
Thanks for this.
I haven't read Speak yet, and yet the attack on it from the article you linked to enrages me. I just feel like people aren't looking beyond the words on a page. Words stack on words and build LESSONS.ReplyDelete
I haven't even read Speak yet, and this just ENRAGES ME. It's so strange to me that people can't look deeper than words on a page. Words stack on words and build LESSONS.ReplyDelete
It makes me so ANGRY when adults think they have the right to decide what teenagers read! I hadn't actually heard of Speak before but I've just looked it up on Goodreads and now really want to read it.ReplyDelete
I read this book in 9th grade as part of our Honors English curriculum. It's heartbreaking to me to see parents try to ban a book like Speak that opens up crucial conversation in the classroom about bullying and paints a very realistic portrayal of high school. It blows my mind that parents think they need to enforce this type of censorship -- wake up! Your student is LIVING in the book. It's called high school. There's nothing in Speak that the average young teen won't experience first hand.ReplyDelete
Interesting, well this journalist is certainly bringing Speak into more focus than not, until the whole furore it hadn't registered with me. Now I think I have to read it - I'm so predictable.ReplyDelete
I found this book at Barnes and Noble when I was 14(ish) and to this day is is one of my favorites. It helped me through so much and I can't believe people are calling it any type of pornography! The sad thing is the people who want to censor usually win, which is such a shame because it's an amazing book.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much for sharing-- I am discussing banned books with my undergrads tomorrow and am absolutely going to bring this up! It makes me livid to read!ReplyDelete
I'm also surprised how many people haven't read Speak yet-- it's a classic!
I read the comments, some of them are hilarious! Great post, I didn't know this was happening. This Dr. Swier guy seems very...interesting, but at the end of the day I think he needs his doctorate revoked.ReplyDelete
Haha I'm pretty sure he's not really a doctor. I'd be shocked if he were. I even have a suspicion that he doesn't actually exist, because the alternative is too baffling.Delete
And yes, I didn't get so much angry reading the comments as amazed. I love people's responses to him.
I am always astonished at how things like this ever happen. Coming from the bible belt, I really shouldn't be surprised any more. (They tried to ban Harry Potter. For promoting magic and witch craft. No I am not making this up.) It makes me just...unspeakably angry. People are so...uneducated sometimes. It wouldn't take more than reading a few chapters of this book to realize what it's about. It seems like it would take a significant amount of energy to promote banning a book versus simply reading it.ReplyDelete
Elizabeth, I remember that was a huge issue when they were coming out. Again, baffling. I think if they want to ban HP for that reason, they should also want to ban the Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings.Delete
Thanks for sharing! I haven't read the book, but I've seen the movie. But I will read it soon enough.ReplyDelete