Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ellen Hopkins, E. Lockhart ... And Me

I trolled Lee Wind's blog, I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell Do I Read? long before I discovered what a great guy he is in person.  This summer at SCBWI-LA, I told him the story of the ridiculous challenge to the anti-bullying curriculum in which The New Girl...And Me was included and the ensuing hoo-hah over my book (if you missed this story, go read it here).

Well, now Lee has been kind enough to interview little old me along with the likes of Ellen Hopkins, E. Lockhart, Frank Portman, Jo Knowles, and Sarah Brannen, on the occasion of Banned Books Week.  You can read Part One of So Your Book Has Been Challenged here.

I'll be honest: I feel a little silly being there.  As I said in the interview, it's not like I wrote something brave.  It wasn't even my book that got people all in a kerfluffle.  I almost begged out of the interview.  But then I realized that the story about people not wanting kindergartners to read The New Girl...And Me is important precisely because it is so stupid and ignorant and completely and totally unrelated to the book.  Just as, I believe, the debate over whether or not schools should have Uncle Bobby's Wedding is more about the challengers' own discomfort than about what's "good" or "appropriate" for children.  We put ourselves in danger when we let other people tell us what to read, and what to think, and the way the information about my book got all twisted is a perfect example (again, really, if you didn't hear the story of how I apparently wrote a kindergarten manual for gay sex, click here).

So go and read, and check out the rest of Lee's blog while you're there.  And come back Friday for the exciting conclusion of the Jacqui Reads Her Children Even More Books Other People Think Are Bad For Them project.


debbie said...

I think you were a very important part of the conversation, Jacqui. These "complaints" can morph into something so ridiculous, like a game of telephone.

cath c said...

on my bog for tomorrow, i point the way to a blogged letter that very succinctly addresses this issue from the pov of a librarian who was asked to remove Uncle Bobby's Wedding from his children's section: here's the link ahead of my blog post:

love the bit on addressing loving our country and the intention of our founding fathers.

fyi yesterday, my 14 yo came home and vehemently discussed the display for banned books week in his school library, which had caution tape wrapped around it. he was flabberghasted that The Giver among others were in there, walked over to his librarian and said, why is this and that and...up for being banned, where upon his librarian, with a grin, pulled a tome of the currently list of all that has been challenged from under her counter and plunked it down in front of him with a thud. his eyes popped out of his head. he came home to immediately discuss the ridiculousness of banned books.

i love my son's librarian. and my son for speaking up.

Jacqui said...

Thanks, Debbie. I was worried I sounded dumb.

cath, thanks -- heading over to see...