Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banning not just books, but their authors too.

According to the School Library Journal, two well-known YA authors have come under fire recently for the controversial topics of their novels -- right on the brink of Banned Books Week.

A few months ago, Laurie Halse Anderson won the ALA's Margaret Edwards Award, which "honors an author, as well as a specific body of his or her work, for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." (The three specific books honored were Catalyst, Fever 1793, and Speak.) When included in school curricula, though, some of these same books and Anderson's other YA works -- Twisted, Chains, Prom, and Wintergirls -- have upset parents with their content, which includes date rape, child abuse, suicidal ideation, and eating disorders.

Ellen Hopkins, author of Burned, Crank, Impulse, Identical, Glass, and Tricks, has herself been challenged; one of her upcoming middle school visits was cancelled when a parent objected to the drug addiction narratives Crank and Glass. (Technically, the books were still being reviewed by a school committee when Hopkins was asked not to come.)

If you haven't already read Jo Knowles's blog entries in response to a challenge to her novel Lessons From a Dead Girl, now would be a good time to do so... and it's also a great time to read Ellen Hopkins's poem "Manifesto."

In addition to reading some banned books this week (or when you can fit them in!), you might want to check out some books about burning or banning books and reading:
- Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
- The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
- Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (non-fiction)
- Libyrinth by Pearl North
- The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
- The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak

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