Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tell Me Why!

If you have not heard about the Ellen Hopkins censorship in Texas festival, please read Aprilynne Pike’s blog. Here’s the link: What I am about to say is centraversial, I'm sure. Therefore, I ask you to trun away so as to not be offended by my thoughts. Thank you!

Anyone still here? Good!

When I read this, I became outraged at the sheer possibility of some parent picking up a novel, skimming its content, and organizing a protest to get the author out of a festival. It is one thing to censor your own children’s reading material, but to have the audacity to decide what is appropriate for everyone else’s? To be so terrible as to deem what is or is not appropriate for someone like me? Unacceptable in my book.

I’m sorry, but how can someone dare skim that which is meant to be read in its entirety, let alone form an opinion about it? This would be like simply looking me and deciding I am inappropriate because I wear black and silver bangles. Once I thought being mature was waiting to form an opinion about something until you could back it up with facts. Now I see I must be immature to go against an adult’s wishes, even only with my thoughts. If that is the case— I’ll not back down for the sake of maturity or having people think I am always levelheaded and sweet. I am a citizen of this nation and a stubborn female, so I will state my opinion; as calmly as possible, no doubt, but I’ll do it!

First off, I think parents that want to know what their kids are reading should read the book themselves, or even better, read it with their child and talk to them about the book. Parents don’t realize how important reading material is— and to take that away without giving it a chance . . . Just please, parents read the books your son or daughter reads and talk to them about it if you feel they are too young or immature to handle certain parts. You do have the right to censor what your own children read, but I pray you might find a valid reason for doing so. I respect any mom or dad who cares enough.

My second point might seem to counter the first: Parents do not have the right to tell other parents what to allow their children to read. Especially if they have never read the book in question. Let the parent of that child decide— not you.
Why do I care? This hit me hard not only as an Ellen Hopkins fan, but as a teenager. Luckily, my parents do not censor my reading (thanks guys!) so I cannot fully understand what it is like. I do, however, know what books have influenced me the most in life and writing— books which have been banned from schools everywhere:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Burned by Ellen Hopkins
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins

There are many more, but I wanted to point out another opinion of mine: People should, of course, not pressure or expose other people's kids to books or movies their parents may not approve of. You can always ask the child and parents how they feel about certain reading material, because, once again, parents do have the right to censor what their kids read.

Bear in mind that when I talk about censoring books, I mean the books that we written for that kid’s age group. Don’t let them read Richelle Mead’s Succubus Blues if they are not ready for an adult novel. (For the adults out there, it is great!)) It is the same with movies: you wouldn’t let a fourteen year-old watch an R rated movie if you did not think they could handle it. The difference is, you probably would have seen the movie first.

One final question concerning the administrators: How could they have picked Ellen Hopkins to speak at the event without reading the material first?

I’m sorry for the rant, guys! I’ll get back to that writing thing I do. 


P.S. Brigid has agreed to interview me!!! I received some awesome questions this afternoon, so I'll get to answering them right away. It should be up within the next few days.


  1. Hiya Alex! Great post. Censorship also really REALLY angers me, and you did a great job of putting it into perspective. I totally agree with you. Book-banning makes me furious. First of all, kids should be able to read whatever they want to read. Second of all, is censoring books really going to shelter kids from reality? It's not like teens don't know about things like suicide, drugs, sex, etc. In my opinion, it's better that kids are educated. For example, Ellen Hopkins' books may involve a lot of drug use, but you also see how horrible the lives of the drug-users become. Her books don't encourage drug use; rather, they expose the world of horror that comes out of it. In my opinion, a good book shouldn't "encourage" anything, because then it just becomes propaganda. Authors want readers to learn and absorb something from their books, yes, and sometimes their characters have to do horrible and/or controversial things in order to get that message across. I think that's what these angered parents misinterpret about books.

    Well … That was a really long rant. Point is, it makes me angry too, and you bring up excellent points.

    P.S. Awesome! Can't wait to read your interview :)

  2. Happy to hear you agree! :D The other authors dropped out of the event after Ellen was kicked off. Those poor teens have likely no idea what happened. That's terrible. I would have used Aprilynne Pike's suggestion: Make Ellen a presence! Hand out one of her books to every person who buys one of yours or something. I could understand if a parant thought their child wasn't ready for books like Impulse, but to do that to EVERYONE???
    lol! Ranting, sorry!