A few weeks ago, I posted about Ellen Hopkins being uninvited to a book fair in Houston because of the content of her books. In that post I talked about my own experience in school libraries and the importance of having books available for anyone.
Today, Laurie Halse Anderson, the award-winning author of SPEAK, a tremendous supporter of writers and writers-to-be has asked for support. A professor in Missouri has asked that her book SPEAK be pulled from the school library because he thinks because it contains two scenes of rape the book is pornographic. I am always flabbergasted at the leap people take in the name of Christianity and family values without really taking the time to understand what the author is trying to say and do.
Having recently re-read SPEAK, I was again so impressed with the voice. It is real and harsh and even funny. Melinda struggles to define what happened to her. She abuses herself, hides away from people and buries herself in shame. Anderson brings Melinda back to herself with such subtly and compassion. By building a room of her own, finding kindred spirits and through her own creative process, Melinda is able to put a name to what happened to her and fight back. She finds her voice and by doing so, allows others to come forward. It is an important and amazing book and to think that someone would consider this story pornography means that they either didn’t read the book, or, if they did, was looking for something that wasn’t there.
This is when the internet and social media can do its magic. Already, Facebook and Twitter are a flutter with support for Anderson. A twitter feed has started by Paul Hankins, an English teacher from Indiana, has started a Twitterfeed #SpeakLoudly. And others have come forward with amazing blog posts like Cheryl Rainfield and Myra McEntire.
Please, take a moment and read the Laurie Halse Anderson’s Blog Post and let people know that rape is never pornography and that censoring this book will take it out of the hands of the teens who need it.