Welcome to my stop on the "Banned Books Week Hop!" Banned and challenged books hold a special place in my heart as a future librarian, avid reader, and enthusiastic supporter of the right to read whatever you want! You're probably wondering what I'm giving away as part of this hop, so let's get right down to it!
WINNER: Jess @ The Romanceaholic!
Congrats Jess! I hope you enjoy this book every bit as much as I do!
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Platinum Edition, 2006
Since the beginning of the school year, high school freshman Melinda has found that it's been getting harder and harder for her to speak out loud: "My throat is always sore, my lips raw.... Every time I try to talk to my parents or a teacher, I sputter or freeze.... It's like I have some kind of spastic laryngitis." What could have caused Melinda to suddenly fall mute? Could it be due to the fact that no one at school is speaking to her because she called the cops and got everyone busted at the seniors' big end-of-summer party? Or maybe it's because her parents' only form of communication is Post-It notes written on their way out the door to their nine-to-whenever jobs. While Melinda is bothered by these things, deep down she knows the real reason why she's been struck mute: Andy Evans. He's a senior at Melinda's high school, and Melinda hasn't been able to speak clearly since the Incident with him at the senior party last August.
I picked Speak for a number of reasons. First, this book is incredible and if you haven't read it, well, you should! Second, this book was recently challenged in Missouri (the state I live it) and my children's literature class spent some time following the debates surrounding the challenge. Ms. Anderson's response was incredible. Dr. Scroggins said that the book did not belong in the school because it is pornographic. I dare you to read this book through and tell me that this book is pornographic. This book is anything but that. It's beautiful and painful and something that many, many teens should/need to read.
Some articles of interest from that incident:
Blog post from ALA's OIF
Official complaint filed by Dr. Scroggins (Speak mentioned on p5)
Laurie Halse Anderson's response (AWESOME)
Both Dr. Scroggins and Ms. Anderson wrote opinion pieces for the News-Leader, but neither is available on the website any longer. Along with Speak, other books that were challenged at the same time included Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer.