Banned Book week is shortly upon us, September 25 - October 2. We love this time of the year because this is when the readers get to speak out against the people who would like to take the right away from us to read any book we may choose. The first amendment of the Bill of Rights gives us the right - no the freedom - to do so. Black Disaster Fairy was lucky enough to venture over to the National Archives to see the Bill of Rights in all its preserved glory. It is just mind blowing how powerful a piece of parchment can be - a piece of parchment with a voice of its own.
On the current circuit of banning books is an article written by a Mr. Scroggins that has the book blogging community in an uproar causing everyone to SPEAK up! We are so proud of the blog community! It seems as everyone has gotten together to take our thoughts and stand up for what we believe in. As well as, those authors who would write and create books for those situations of discomfort.
Here is a link to the article that has created such a huge response:
I read the article, and my first thought was What the hell?! This guy says “ children at the middle school are being introduced to concepts such as homosexuality, oral sex, anal sex and specific instructions on how to use a condom and have sex.” Is this fantasy? Are there no homosexual people out there? Would he just rather the kids DIDN’T know how to use a condom and have unprotected sex? Because that’s what will happen. “Sex education curriculum in the fourth grade includes topics on reproduction.” Honey, do you really want your kids to get to university and get a medicine degree still thinking it was the cute stork that brought them home? I was exposed to that way before that and I’m not a sexually depraved psycho. Your kids won’t be either. Well, unless they were already sexually depraved psychos before they were exposed, but whatever. Also, would you want them to hear of that from TV? Their friends? I don’t think so.
No! And to top it off, Scroggins has spoken out against one of my favorite books of this year, Twenty Boy Summer. This deeply upsets me. And to top it off he is trying to get Speak banned, saying that the two rape scenes are considered soft porn. Really, if you are reading rape scenes and getting a bit turned on I think you just may have a problem you need to address. Sexual violence is not the same thing as porn!
Yes! And I wonder if the man has even read Speak. Just because of his atrocious article I bought the book and read it. The rape scene is barely described, as in it basically says it happens. Plus the tone of the book during all of the scenes that Scroggins is so dismayed about is almost sarcastic and regretful. Like what Melinda (the main character) thought about life before the rape is all just a joke to her now. When you read the words, you can feel their meaning, and that meaning is not that drinking and sex are what life are all about. So, Scroggins should get off his self-important duff and actually read this book. A book that is about teaching people to speak up. SPEAK UP!
This is a serious issue that needs to be brought out. Who is this guy to believe that he has the right to tell us what to read! What power does he have over us, the answer is absolutly none!This guy just wants control. If he feels so strongly on this subject then he doesn't have to read the books and talk about them with people, he can just forget about them. I've only heard a little about this recent issue and I'm not really to informed but I will be by the end of book banning week. Taking away books is taking away our freedom! It will NOT happen!
I've never got why people have this urge to ban books because each and every book has its own value - well, most of them at least. And to ban books like Twenty Boy Summer?
If he wants to ban Twenty Boy Summer or Speak, he can practically ban every book. Harry Potter, because of the violence and death. Every single vampire book, because of moral problem with vampires drinking human blood. My Sister's Keeper, because reading about illness depresses people.
Does he really think people will deal better with their problems if they have nothing they can relate to? Does he seriously believe the teens woudln't drink alcohol or have sex if they don't have the chance to read about them?
~ Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
~ Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
~ Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
Laurie Halse Anderson's rebutle article:
"We" believe that it is not good to shelter your children from an issue as important as this. Rape and molestation should not be looked at as soft porn. It truly is dirty and degrading but unfortunately it is apart of life. It happens! To me, you, adults, children. Anyone. To be powerless, to feel powerless and to have no where to turn has to be the worst experience. To be afraid and alone, exposed. Banning books on this issue does not help or detour from the possibilities of such horrendous events. By banning books that write about these tough dark happenings... how could you not feel like you are supporting the issue by hiding it? We need to be aware, our children need to be aware. Do not take that freedom away from them!
However, we as parents... yes both of us are parents, need to be responsible as well. Parents should feel inclined to be apart of their child's life. We are charged with providing them with strong values and teaching them about life, especially the rights and wrongs. Censorship is not teaching them about rights and wrongs or providing them with a strong value to live by. Censorship covers up an issue and brushes it under the table. What!! Why would anyone want to do that? It is just outrageous! I feel like banging my head on a brick wall.
It's so true. There are so many issues now a days that are being swept under the rug and that is so often why teens feel that they cannot say anything. Like it's a taboo subject to bring up their molestation or rape. This topic hits close to home for me. I have a younger sister who was molested by some kid in her school and she almost didn't say anything! She almost let it all go by and sit and fester. If it had not been for a school nurse who was really close to the students who had the ability to coax it out of her she would have dealt with it on her own. There are so many REAL issues that need to be addressed and tackled in grade schools that never would if it weren't for books like SPEAK and Twenty Boy Summer.
Have this guy even read SPEAK? Has he even read about how Melinda felt for NOT having told anyone? How that could be considered and example so that is it does happen, the victim will speak? And how useful it might be that there actually IS a book on the matter because IT HAPPENS! IT IS UNFORTUNATE BUT IT HAPPENS!! Oh, but I forgot, people just want their kids to read fairy tales-except that even in them there’s an evil witch. Those books make people more aware of what is happening.
I haven’t read "Slaughterhouse Five." yet but in case you haven’t noticed, profane language is pretty much everywhere now. Open the window and *BAM* you’ll hear someone saying f*ck. Turn the TV on and there’ll be someone saying S**t.
I'm a teen and I have read Speak, I thought it was a very powerful moving book about how a girl deals with rape. This is bringing serious issues that may happen everyday, yes, possibly everyday. We all need to be aware of what's going on so we know how to handle it. It's something that affects us all, if not directly, indirectly. Think about it, these issues are being brought up in books today more than ever, which is a good thing because if we look into the past I bet you could find tons of these situations that were never brought to life, a bunch of people probably got away with doing these horrible things and a bunch of lives lost from eating disorders and stuff. Back then all this stuff was not new but if it happend, it was never spoken of because God forbid that we give someone the power to speak against whoever it is and then ultimatly the power to make a difference and stand up!
Authors try to lay out a serious problem and to show the readers how to deal with it. And reading about the issues doesn't make me feel like I should do it, but rather that I shoudln't do it. I'm not going to do drugs because I've read about it! More likely, I woudln't do it because now I know what the consequences would be!
I love taboo subjects. It is a whole new ballgame when you talk about something that shouldn't be talked about. Pushing the unwritten line of comfort. People, we are unique in the fact that we can think and have emotions, even in the way our brain presents certain issues as taboo. Why does a thing or event have to be classified in such a unnatural way? You said it, Jen! This schmuck should get of his duff and read the book. Banning such a book is just another way taboo exerts its power over us. I had to find out more about what this huge outcry was about. I rushed to my Nook and ordered Speak just because someone said NO! Well, that and I have to find out why this guy would consider the rape scenes in this book to be soft porn. Curiosity will kill the Fairy!!
So, far the book is amazing and I passed on the "You Must Read This" message to many of my bookish friends at school. The outcry and united literary community is just pure amazingness! (Ok, it is not a word but it should be!)
In the end, do you really think teenage boys and girls will stop going to parties and get drunk and –for the lack of a better word- screw up just because you’re banning some book? Do you really think it’ll stop kids from doing drugs and killing themselves?
But, more important, do you really think you have the right to tell them what is right and what is not? The right to stop them from reading books they want to read?
In parting I guess I'd like to say this: To all you people out there who think that teenagers can't deal with these books, you are wrong! They deal with more than this kind of thing on a daily basis. Wonderful authors like Laurie Halse Anderson and Sarah Ockler have the amazing grace to send books our way that help through these times. They help us to know what to do in tough situations, who we can turn to. Because in an alternate reality, yeah, the world we live on would be perfect and teenagers wouldn't be having sex and drinking and doing some unspeakable things, but WE DON'T! We live in a world of chaos that needs some kind of control, some kind of guide through the mess we call life. Anderson - who also gave us Wintergirls for helping with eating disorders - and Ockler aren't the only ones either, some others are Julie Ann Peters who gave us By the Time You Read This I'll be Dead (bullying and suicide) and Jandy Nelson who gave us The Sky is Everywhere (death and grief).
So, don't tell me what I can and can't read and don't try to tell me what my children can and can't read. That's right, I have children of my own and I will decide what is appropriate for them. Not You. Not some elitist fascist who thinks he has the right to dictate his beliefs upon others.