Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It doesn't pay to disinvite authors and Mockingjay is finally out!

Two big news days.  Yesterday Teen Lit Festival in Humble, Texas was cancelled; I gather, due to so many authors pulling out after Ellen Hopkins was disinvited.  I'm sorry to see this happening.  I'd really rather that the decision makers rethought the withdrawal of their invitation to Ms. Hopkins.  In a perfect world I guess...sigh.  So you Humble teens.  You'll just have to get to the library and read.

In other news, today is the release day for Suzanne Collins MockingJay.  I can't believe that my agent Suzie Townsend was lucky enough to get into a bookstore where Ms. Collins was speaking along side of her editor, the equally great David Levithan.  Not only does Suzie have the book, she's already READ it!  I'm not far behind you Suzie.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

My idea of a perfect summer da

Yesterday was my idea of a perfect summer day.  Sunny but not too hot.  A lovely breeze.  After a gorgeous bike ride on Lockside trail, a stop a Maddock's farm for ice cream, and a burger downtown, we wandered into Munro's Books along Government St.  I love this bookstore, although I find it dangerous to step through it's impressive (formerly a swanky bank) glass and wood doors.  I think last night's visit set me back a couple of hundred...Yikes.  So many books to read though.  Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China which I'm reading for my book club, The Gryphon Project by Carrie Mac (which I've been meaning to read since it won the Sheila Eggoff Prize for YA Literature at the BC Book Prizes), and InkDeath, the last in Cornelia Funke's trilogy which I've yet to read.  So exciting, I'll have to get through these really fast because the fall list will be in soon, and the "too be read piles" will just get higher and higher!
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

More on Ellen Hopkins Teen Lit fiasco in Texas

More on the Ellen Hopkins Teen Lit fiasco in Texas....

Publisher Weekly's Blog has posted an article about it, and I read reams of responses.  One of my favorite teen lit authors who weighed in was Chris Crutcher (if you haven't read him yet, please do, he's fabulous).  Among other things, he said..."The point is, it’s a fight we have to wage loudly, if for no other reason than to show the kids we believe they can think for themselves and that we believe in freedom whether that particular freedom “suits” us or not."  

I love that the internet allows us to draw attention to censorship issues so quickly.  So far, only a few have responded to the School Library Journal article posted yesterday.  But, I suspect it won't be long before dozens more weigh with comments.  It's an issue that authors are willing to fight for; not only for themselves, but on behalf of their readers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Censoring Ellen Hopkins

Censorship rears it's ugly head again.  Ellen Hopkins, one of my fav. young adult writers has been disinvited to speak at a Teen Lit. Fest in Humble, Texas near Houston.

Now anyone whose ever read Hopkins knows that she writes some pretty gritty stuff.  She doesn't pull punches and she doesn't shy away from controversy.  What she does do is tell real stories about real issues that teens face, and she tells them with respect and honesty and integrity.  What about that can be bad for young people?

This is what I'd say to those who would ban authors like Ms. Hopkins who have important stories to tell...

1.  No one's forcing you to read or view or listen to anything.  Choose another story.  Choose to listen to a different author speak.
2.  You don't have the right to choose what authors others read or watch or listen to.
3.  Censuring merely draws more attention to the issue you want to pretend doesn't exist.

 I am always surprised at the frequency with which censorship issues come up, especially given this last point. For example, back when I was in high school, the school board was considering banning The Catcher in the Rye.  I never saw more kids reading that particular book before than during the height of the controversy!  Even kids who hated reading read that book, if only for what we thought of as the really good bits.

 More recently, when my kids were in elementary school, one family wanted to challenge a book my daughter's classroom teacher was reading, The Witches.  The family's child was invited to the library during those sessions to read books of their choice.  Such a simple solution!

I hope Ms. Hopkins keeps writing more fabulous books; books like Crank, Burned, and Cut; books that have made me laugh and cry and rage against pain...most importantly, books that have helped me to understand another human being.

Monday, August 9, 2010

More travel

Off to Pender Island today to visit friends Andrea and David Spalding, both superb writers.  Can't wait to find out what they're each working on...as the two of them usually have individual and joint projects on the go.  Then on Wednesday I'm off to Saltspring where I have been invited to a young adult book club for their latest book discussion about my novel, The Smell of Paint.  Margriet Ruurs whose latest book is My School in the Rainforest has been kind enough to organize the whole thing, and I can't wait to see her now that she's moved up from Oregon and settled into one of the most populated and truly beautiful gulf islands.  If we're lucky, it will warm up a little and we'll get to go for a swim in one of the island's three lakes.  If not, there's always a good book to read, or a new one to write.  Of course I'll bring work along...I almost always do, and I especially hope that you are enjoying summer reading and/or writing as much as I am.  Until next time.  S.