Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly

 Being an American and an avid reader of all flavors of books, I believe we have the right to certain freedoms including freedom of choice. We have the right to choose what we want to read. We have the right to choose not to read a certain book. We have the right to be vocal about a book--whether to praise it or not. 

What we don't have the right to do is force our beliefs on someone else. That's what Banned Books Week, officially running from September 25-October 2 of this year, is all about. According to the American Library Association, one of the main sponsors of Banned Books Week, "Banned Books (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books  across the United States." 

Some of you may say, "No way! Banning books? That doesn't happen these days." (Oh, to be so naive.)

It does. Take, for example, Wesley Scroggings, an associate professor at Missouri State University. In this opinion piece, he outlines his reasons as to why he wants Laurie Halse Anderson's SPEAK banned.

SPEAK, filthy and immoral? I think not. It's an incredibly powerful, realistic novel of a brutal attack and its repercussions for the victim. Laurie Halse Anderson responds along with literary agent Janet Reid, and authors Catherine Ryan, Myra McEntire, and A.S. King.

It's one thing to prevent your own children from reading a specific book because you don't feel it's appropriate for them or because you don't like the subject matter. That is your right as a parent. It is also your right NOT to read a book, whatever the reason. 

However, it is another thing entirely when someone tries to prevent my child or any other reader from reading that book. That is not their right.

Support freedom of choice. Make your voice heard. Write an opinion piece. Comment on Mr. Scroggings' own piece. Read a banned book today. 

3 comments:

  1. Great post! I actually go to school at Missouri State University, and I was completely appalled when I found this!

    If you're interested, I wrote about my thoughts here. There's also a Mr. Linky at the bottom if you'd like to link up your post!

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  2. Thanks for continuing the conversation about the importance of this book on your blog. I am teaching this book right now and find it disturbing that anyone would see it as pornographic.

    Here are my thoughts in more depth:

    http://derapsreads.blogspot.com/2010/09/speak-out-against-censorship.html

    Thanks.

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  3. Agreed!! Though I haven't read this particular book, I've had other teacher friends praise it. I don't have to read it to completely agree with the fallacy of mass banning of books! Thanks for posting. :)

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