Friday, September 30, 2011

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Book Awareness Week - I added the awareness part since otherwise it sounds like it's promoting the banning of books. I think there are enough people challenging the content of books already.

At the Anderson's YA Lit Conference last Saturday, at the opening of the event we gathered together to read this manifesto aloud, written by author Ellen Hopkins. (It's supposed to be posted on youtube's banned book blog channel but I can't find it!)

 To you zealots and bigots and false
patriots who live in fear of discourse.
You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books
off shelves in your brand name
of greater good.

You say you’re afraid for children,
innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion of sorcery on the page.
But sticks and stones to break
bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,
and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.

You say you’re afraid for America,
the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually
confused. But we are a vast quilt
of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered
identities. You cannot speak for those
whose ancestors braved
different seas.

You say you’re afraid for God,
the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene.
But the omnipotent sculptor of heaven
and earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak
for the father, who opens
his arms to all.

A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
-Ellen Hopkins


For a little lighter fare, I was very amused by Forever Young Adult about their tounge-in-cheek choices for which YA books that should be challenged.


  1. Great post! For some students, their library is the only way for them to get books because their parents don't buy them. And if the school or public libraries ban them? Sad...

  2. Impressive words!

    And I've just lost quite some time over at FYA reading their old book banning posts :-)


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