Friday, October 1, 2010

Banned Books Week Discussion

We all have our favorite banned books and as writers, readers, bloggers, agents, publishers and anyone else who has a hand in anything book related, we have strong feelings regarding book banning.

The two most publicized cases of the last few weeks have been surrounding two amazing authors: Ellen Hopkins and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Ellen Hopkins had been invited and uninvited to TeenLitFest in Humble, TX after a librarian (of all people) decided she didn't think it was appropriate for Ellen to speak to her students based on the content of her books. After Hopkins was uninvited, some of the other authors pulled out in support of her (Kudos to them!) and although the festival has been canceled, I am so happy to see these authors standing up against censorship.

As for Laurie Halse Anderson, Wesley Scroggins stated that Laurie's book Speak should be considered soft pornography due to the scenes of rape. I won't get started on that again.

I don't think there could be a better time for these things to happen than around Banned Book Week. We're already trying to get the word out about why books shouldn't be banned and here are two perfectly good examples of fantastic books that are being challenged that should be left alone.

The most important thing about books like these is that it reaches out to people who may be going through the same thing and are looking for comfort or strength. Maybe they aren't even looking for anything but get an epiphany about themselves and their lives once they read it. I was reading an article earlier about this from Ellen Hopkins and think it's definitely worth sharing. Her manifesto, which is found at the bottom, is pretty awesome too. Click here to read it.

You know what the saying is though, no press is bad press. Both of these authors have been on my radar for quite sometime, I just have not gotten around to their books yet. The funny thing? All this drama has made me want to read them even more than I already did. So here's my question to you:

Do you think the act of banning makes books more or less desirable to readers? Do you think school systems that ban a specific books have more students seeking out that particular book in their free time?

Anything else about Banned Books Week you'd like to add or discuss? Feel free to leave it in the comments section, I'd love to hear what you have to say!


  1. I'd say that hearing a book has been challenged makes me more likely to at least look into what the book is about and why "someone" has issues with the book. That doesn't mean I always necessarily read the book, but it does get at least my initial interest.

    Thanks for pointing to the article by Ellen Hopkins. I absolutely love her manifesto.

  2. I totally agree..I may not have heard about it before but I'll look into it after hearing it's banned. However, if it's already on my list, it moves up a bit.

  3. I think I'm more likely to pick up a book if there's banned hoopla about it. I can't say in high school though, that I would have even known.

  4. I didn't in high school either