Sunday, September 19, 2010

Speak Loudly - Let's ban book banning

So I log onto the internet after a slow-paced casual Sunday, thinking I'll just post a few tweets and move on and what do I come across?  Freaking book banning  and book censorship. Seriously? This is ridiculous.  I am all in favor of banning book banning.  No one has the right to dictate what someone else's children read. I am all in favor of standing up for Laurie Halse Anderson's "Speak." You can find out more about Laurie here: , then follow the link to her blog to find out more about her book.

Back to book banning: it's a small-minded action. Most of the classics, including the Bible, have shown up on banned book lists through the years.  While children should read books that are somewhat age-appropriate (i.e. save the truly adult titles for teens instead of the wee ones), just like with movies, there should be no books that are not allowed in school libraries.  Books like "Speak" and others that give a voice to abuse victims should be put ON school reading lists.  While we are at it, let's not forget to keep books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" ON school reading lists too...please.

I went to Catholic school all of my life and it was, for me, a tremendous experience. I loved it. I always remember the Sisters I had teaching my English classes in middle and high school. They gave us banned books. They told us to read everything. They put "Catcher in the Rye" among other banned books on our mandatory school book list.  One Sister when I was in 6th grade, applauded my love of reading by giving me free books, including science and supernatural YA fiction titles, saying, "These look fun." That's how children should be encouraged in the school system.  Let's tear down these bigoted people who want to ban books and instead encourage kids to read all types of titles about both fun and serious topics.  Now that sounds fun.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Two thumbs up for YA lit

The increase in YA titles out there lately has me so both a writer and a reader.  Now, there are a lot of excellent adult titles coming out - of course - but it's the YA stuff that I particularly like.  I think it has a lot to do with the following:

A. YA books shape minds. I will always remember the books that made me, as a child, want to be a writer and the ones that made me want  to read more about a specific topic. These are the books I'll keep forever and I'll crave to read over and over.  There aren't many literary titles I read as an adult that have the same oomph.

2. In YA books, writers can concentrate more and character and plot that on pretty literary topics. I once knew a writer, who aspired to be a "true writer" in that she only concentrated on manuscripts that were all cerebral and literary. She looked down her nose at genre writers. A lot of the publishing world agrees with her. Except when it comes to YA books. Kids want the unbelievable. They find beauty in the escapism of it.  That's one of the things that makes writing YA so fresh and fun.

3. Less explanation is necessary. Telling a story to adults often requires so much set-up. Why do these supernatural beings exist? How did they get here?  In YA books, there is more imagination and less set-up. Scary things just are.  Let's get to fleshing it out and dealing with it, instead of thinking it to death.

4.  Writing YA makes me feel younger than I am. I become the kid in the story and I love it.  Reading YA makes me feel younger than I am.  I become the kid in the story (again) and I still love it.