Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Censorship sucks

I’m a writer.

But before I was ever a writer I was a reader.

When I was in high school I took a journalism class. Then I joined the newspaper. See I wanted to be a writer even back then.

The first thing Miss Christensen taught us before we wrote a single word was The First Amendment. She made us know and love our right to free speech. She taught us to protect our right to free speech and expression. We had to sign a pledge to protect the First Amendment when we joined the paper. Even though my paper I signed my pledge on is long gone I still take my pledge to defend the First Amendment very seriously.

Needless to say book banning makes me angry and upset. To me banning books is a violation of the First Amendment.

I don’t think anyone has a right to tell me what I can and can’t read.

I believe in the power of books. The books we read help us navigate our way through childhood and adolescence and even adulthood.

When I was a kid the characters in books helped me realize I wasn’t the only kid who had divorced parents. I wasn’t the only kid confused about religion and wondering where God was.

So yesterday when I read Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog about a guy, Wesley Scroggins trying to get her book, Speak taken out of the school library in Republic, MO I was upset.

The Scroggins piece claims that parents and taxpayers need to be aware of what kids are reading and learning. I have to say I pay taxes and I don't have kids but I would still want kids to be allowed to read this book or any other book that is written with children and teens in mind. If I was a parent I would want my kids to have access to a book like Speak or any other book that has been challenged.

Scroggins also has a problem with the school's sex education program saying that children are learning about reproduction in the forth grade and sex in eighth grade. I distinctly remembered getting on a bus and going to the Catholic School Central to learn about reproduction in forth grade.

I have to admit I haven't read this book. I read Anderson's book Wintergirls recently and this book was on my list of books I would get to but now I am reading it. I was planning on reading To Kill a Mockingbird during Banned Book Week but now I am reading Speak instead.

I will post more of my thoughts on this book later. But for right now I think it is a good book. I am still early on in the book and the character, Melinda is depressed and withdrawn and her only escape in high school is art. Even though I wasn't this girl in high school I knew girls who were like her. Girls who were depressed. My sister was depressed and withdrawn during her teen years. I wish a book like this had been around when we were in high school.

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