Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Censorship is Never Right

As I've mentioned before, I had the pleasure of meeting Tera Lynn Childs during my week at RWA and picked up a copy of Forgive my Fins for my daughter. She was so enamored of the author that we immediately had to pick up Childs' other books. To say the child devoured them would be an understatement. After writing her first fan note, we learned that Childs would be at the Humble ISD Literacy Fest. Excited doesn't begin to describe my daughter's reaction at the idea of getting to meet a literary hero (just ask Rosemary Clement-Moore, my kiddo can talk an author's ear off).

So it is with great disappointment that I learned that Tera Lynn Childs would no longer be attending the Humble ISD Literacy Fest and for a very good reason, too. She explained via her blog. So while I am definitely sad we won't get to see her, I have nothing but respect for the move and disappointment in the Superintendent and his librarian who invited and then dis invited author Ellen Hopkins.

Hopkins is the author of several novels including:

Hopkins novels focus on people, teens and children in troubling and often difficult situations where the monsters aren't the only thing that go bump in the night. On the surface, the material might seem disturbing, but teen readers, like the adults they will eventually become, are challenged by the internal and external dramas in their lives.  The unknown in a teen's life is vast as they making the difficult transition from childhood to adulthood and it can be populated with more burdens than most adults want to remember. Hopkins taps into that primal part of being a teenager and delivers powerful tales, time and time again.  To say that she was uninvited from a TEEN literacy festival because some parents might be disturbed by her work is just this side of criminal (and I'm being generous.)

As a parent, I can't tell other parents what is right or wrong for their kids, only they can. But as a reader and buyer, you have the ultimate power -- you don't have to buy the work of someone you don't agree with. That's your power. Blocking my ability to meet, see or purchase -- that's wrong and that's why we call it censorship, because you're taking away our choices. 

So while I remain deeply saddened by the loss of Tera Lynn Childs, Ellen Hopkins and more to the Literacy Festival, I support the authors who are withdrawing in support. 

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