Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lauren Myracle and Book Banning

Last night, I heard Lauren Myracle, a tween/YA author speak. She recently topped the American Library Association's list of Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2009. With my love of books and interest in free speech issues (my day job is teaching poli sci), it was fascinating.

She has a series of books (ttyl, ttfn, and l8r,g8r) that are written all in IM/text format as well as several books that touch on GLBT issues. It was hilarious to hear the 60+ year old dean of the college's arts and sciences to introduce her and hearing his text talk. You might imagine why her books have been challenged, but really, they're not that different from other young adult books I've read.

Her latest book Luv Ya Bunches is about four 5th graders. One of the girls has two moms. Scholastic has book fairs in school, perhaps you remember or have kids that have them. Scholastic said they'd include this book in the nationwide fairs if she would change the two moms thing. She said no. I really admire this. She stuck to her guns at the cost of a huge market for her book.

The event was really cool. As you might imagine, not many authors come to Wyoming on their book tours. It made me think about the books I read as a kid. I read Gone with the Wind in 5th grade. I'm glad my parents weren't writing authors to tell them they were Satan and let me read what I wanted. One of the things that that Myracle said that I really agreed with is that books are a safe place to learn about things. And, as a tween/teen there was a heck of a lot to learn about, especially those things you are too embarrassed to ask about.

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