Sep 22, 2010

Speak Loudly - Speak Often

If you have been on Twitter and follow even just a few YA book lovers or authors, you may have noticed the green Speak Loudly Twibbon (Twitter + ribbon that shows support) or #SpeakLoudly hashtag. Speak Loudly, I feel began, with Ellen Hopkins "disinvitation" from the Houston Teen Book Festival in Humbolt Texas. What am I talking about? Here is a recap:

On August 10th, Ellen Hopkins blogged that ONE librarian had concerns about Hopkins visit scheduled appearance due to the intense and controversial subject matter of her books. The librarian, followed with a very small handful of fired-up parents, met with superintendent, Guy Sconzo. As a result, Hopkins was "uninvited." Very shortly after, 4 other authors voluntarily took themselves off the roster. Mellisa de la Cruz, Matt de la Pena, Terra Lynn Childs, and Pete Hautman took a stand against this blatant form of censorship in support of Hopkins. The festival was forced to cancel the entire event. 

Twitter, Facebook and blogs went wild in support of Ellen, her books, and the right to read. More recently, the YA lit world has suffered another blow. This time against Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak. On September 19th, an article published by News-Leader in Springfield, Missouri brought to light the (disgusting) views of Wesley Scroggins. The article entitled, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" is an editorial piece where Mr. Scroggins characterizes Speak as "soft pornography". He is referring to the two rape scenes in the book. I'm sure many rape survivors, among others, would be outraged to learn others think of rape as a pornographic sexual act. Most reasonably educated and social conscious people know that rape is not about sex - it's about control and power. As a result of the article, Anderson asked the help of the YA book community. She asks that people talk about how Speak made them feel, and about how the novel can be used in a school setting. Something Mr. Scroggins is trying to see banned. Lastly, Anderson asks the community as a whole to "..consider this your chance to get a head start on speaking up about a good book and defending the intellectual freedoms guaranteed us in our Constitution." 

So here I am, SPEAKING LOUDLY! I support the right to read, and the freedom to choose for myself. I will empower my children to make book selections that are right for them. They will be independent readers, as well as choosers. Lastly, as a librarian, I will recommend books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression without imposing my own beliefs. 

Full blog post from Ellen Hopkins HERE

Full article from News-Leader HERE

Full blog post from Laurie Halse Anderson HERE