SPEAK! #SpeakLoudly

A new banned book controversy has arisen over “Speak” by Laurie Halse. Read Laurie’s post on the situation: This guy thinks Speak is pornography.http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=pagsaiandpot-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0142414735&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

More importantly, read the comments under Laurie’s post.  Read how so many teens were impacted by this book.

Ok. Did you read those comments? 


I can’t say it any better than Myra McEntire did on her blog.But I’m going to rant away…

Having been both a teacher and a school librarian, I do understand why a parent may not want their child reading things that are difficult topics. However…(excuse me, have to go get my soapbox)…that is between the parent and child. Not that individual and everyone else’s child. Because guess what a library has? Books. Lots of books. And you can choose different ones.

I worked in a library with  Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) on the shelves (well, rarely. The series was almost always checked out). The kids who weren’t allowed to read it told me so. And they chose not check it out. Simple.

The mass banning movement tells me you don’t trust your kid to uphold what you’ve taught them.

And let’s say worse comes to worse…let’s say they sneak the book, read it when no one’s looking…*gasp*…Well. What?

And has anyone noticed banning books doesn’t really work? Take a look at the list from the top 100 challenges and challenges from 2000-2009.

Aren’t all these books…famous? Perhaps we should thank those that want to ban books for drawing more attention to them and making them bestsellers for years.

I also understand that part of the controversy is that some of these books have been required reading in English classes. I can’t speak for what’s going on in Missouri, or this particular case, but only in the districts where I have worked.

Required reading lists generally are approved by an entire department,school administration, and often, the school board. So a lot of respectable members of the community, well educated adults, check this stuff out.

What most teachers offer is an alternative reading list. If the student isn’t allowed to read the particular book, they may choose another. There was a bruhaha several years ago (the school and teacher shall remain nameless) over the book Druids by Morgan Llewelyn. It was on a list of, I believe, 20+ books the advanced placement high school student could have chosen to read for a humanities course.

The parent flipped out about Druids – not Christian, and there was one (brief) sex scene. Of course it wasn’t Christian. The book is about Julius Caesar taking over Celtic Gaul. How can it be Christian when the Gauls weren’t Christian…they were druids. That was their religion, their belief, their culture.
The crux of it all, is that the student HAD A CHOICE. There were many other books she could have read. I believe she could have suggested any other book as long as it corresponded with the curriculum. If choices and alternative assignments don’t work for you, then choose another method of schooling. Homeschool. Private school. I’m going to end my rant with a quote from Myra McEntire’s blog post:

These are secular books. Secular books are allowed in a public school system. If this is an issue for Mr. Scroggins, maybe he should consider a Christian education for his children. HIS children are his business. Other Christian parents can make their own call on whether or not they do the same. 

Because for Christians, there is one Boss. Mr. Scroggins might need to surrender his Junior God badge.

2 Comments on “SPEAK! #SpeakLoudly

  1. Ever notice the same people who don't want government to dictate how they live their life and raise their children are usually the same people who force others to live the way they believe one should live? They don't want another person to tell them how to raise their child, but it seems to be alright for them to tell others what their children can and cannot read.


  2. Speak is one of my all-time favorite books. I was so glad when Clare was old enough to read it so we could talk about it. I have experienced firsthand parents and administrators trying to tell me what books I should have (and not have) on my shelves. Probably the first week I started as a librarian, I had a parent tell me her children were not allowed to read the Harry Potter series. At least she wasn't asking me to remove it from the shelves.


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