Bringing you around the web this week, a day early.
From the 2009 Debutantes website:
Banned Books Week has special significance for the Debs this year. Our own Sarah Ockler and her debut novel, TWENTY BOY SUMMER, are under challenge right now in Republic, MO, along with Kurt Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE 5 and Laurie Halse Anderson’s SPEAK.
In response to this, the 2009 Debs are giving away thirty-eight (38!) copies of Twenty Boy Summer. Visit the Debs site for more details, but the contest is open between now October 2, 2010. Entries open to everyone worldwide. We’ll ship anywhere!
For more information on what’s going on, visit Sarah Ockler’s site and read her blog. Additionally, check out Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog as well. You can also read Sarah’s wonderful response to the challenge here.
Unfortunately, Mr. Vonnegut is no longer with us and cannot respond to the challenge, but one can imagine what he might have to say.
I’ve seen a few suggestions around the web that the authors in question and their supporters not speak loudly about this–that only gives the challenger in question too much attention, a national platform.
Just ignore him and he’ll go away.
Except sometimes, people like that won’t. Sometimes, they convince other, reasonable people that there is a threat contained between two covers of a book.
The thing is, children may learn facts from history, but they learn empathy and truth from fiction. How and where do we want our young adults learning about the harsh realities of the world? From the safe confines of a book–where they have the time and opportunity to think about the situations presented and the moral and ethical implications.
Or should we simply shove them out the door unprepared? Let them learn it on the street, from peers who may be as ill-equipped as they are. All under the guise of keeping them safe.
How do we expect our children to make good ethical decisions when we’ve shielded them from ethical dilemmas? Why do we decry the “me-me-me generation” and then take away the very thing that teaches empathy? We complain that children don’t read, then snatch away the very books that engage them.
So sometimes you have to speak loudly to be heard above the din. Like Sarah Ockler. And Laurie Halse Anderson.
Speak loudly, because some would prefer you not speak at all.