I got all high and mightly about censorship back in high school when the PMRC was trying to censor my heavy metal rock music. Well, now individuals are attacking my reading list and favorite authors.
The latest is Laurie Halse Anderson's incredibly moving novel, Speak. Speak deals with the issues of teen rape and the effect it had on the main character. An associate professor from Missouri State University considered it pornographic. Seriously? I don't even know what to say about that, other than shame on him. You can read Anderson's account on her blog Mad Woman in the Forest
If you remember it wasn't too long ago that YA author, Ellen Hopkins, was 'disinvited' from the Teen Lit Fest due to the content of her novels.
Sherman Alexie's brillant novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Tme Indian was recently banned in Missouri.
What bothers me the most about this is that all these novels deal with real issues that teens face everyday. It reminds me of High School Health class. No one thought teachers should teach sex education because it would lead to promiscuity. News flash, kids were still going to do what they wanted, but at least this way they'd be educated about being safe.
Teens have access to more information than they'll ever need but it's different reading in the privacy of your own bedroom about a character who has gone through the same things you have. Connecting to the words on the page and knowing that you are not alone is key.
Please consider doing something to combat censorship today. You can visit the National Coalition Against Censorhip for ideas on how you can help.