Laurie Halse Anderson wrote an incredible book, Speak, about a girl so traumatized about something that happened at a high school party, she no longer speaks. The book is amazingly well-crafted. All the people, parents, teachers, and friends, are completely oblivious to what she’s going through. The book is absolutely powerful.
Recently, this book was ludicrously condemned as “soft pornography.”
School Library Journal posted an interview with Laurie Halse Anderson.
Liz Burns at A Chair, a Fire, and a Tea Cozy, has recently posted some thoughtful and excellent posts in reaction. First, about the issue of condemning books in reviews. Second, about what we are saying about other books when we call certain books “clean.”
As a librarian, I am strongly against censorship. As a conservative Christian, I understand where some parents are coming from, but I strongly believe that if a child isn’t ready for it, he or she won’t be interested. And there are difficult issues out there in the world. Isn’t reading a book a better way for your child to deal with them before they actually have to face them? I also strongly believe that there’s no better way to build empathy into a person than to get them to read — They can learn to see the perspective of both the villain and the victim. But if you stick to material that offends no one (Does such material exist?), it won’t have much impact.