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.
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.