September 25th starts “Banned Book Week” in the United States. Canada has a similar week called “Freedom to Read Week” held somewhere between January and March each year. The purpose of this week is to bring awareness to the censorship of books in schools and community libraries. Some books that have been banned in Canada include “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “McLean’s Magazine”, “The Bible”, “The Giver”, “Underground to Canada”, “Goosebumps Series”, and “Huckleberry Finn”. (Taken from www.freedomtoread.ca) There is currently a movement in the U.S. to have the novel “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson banned. It is the story of a young girl who is raped and her struggle to find a voice to tell someone about it. This novel was originally published 11 years ago. It has helped many children find their own voice. I encourage you to listen to the author read the poem “Listen” inspired by the letters she has received from readers in those 10/11 years about the impact “Speak” has had on them. You can watch the video here:
Do I think that this is a book that everyone should read? No. It is not my place to say that this book is right for everyone. However, I don’t believe that one person should have the right to ban me (or you) from reading it either. So, in protest, I bought two copies of this book today. I will keep one for myself to read, and to lend as others are interested. I will pass the second one on to someone else (I have in mind the mother of 3 teen and tween girls and 1 teen boy). I encourage you to pick a book that has been banned and do the same. We have the “Freedom to Read” and I will “Speak Loudly” in support of that freedom.
If you wish to have more information about the debate surrounding the novel “Speak”, you can follow the hashtag #speakloudly on Twitter, or you can read the author’s blog post here or another blog post here that is collecting posts on this subject .
Encyclopedia Brown was the first character I ever felt a kindship to… I was a quiet, bookish girl who spent all of my spare time reading, or helping my school librarian shelve books (with the hopes of finding new books to read!) At the time, there was a section in the library that was off limits to me because I was too young and couldn’t possibly understand the books, but the librarian used to let me “sneak” books from this section as I was shelving. I was pretty much a loner, because in the real world, being bookish just meant that you were a know-it-all.
Encyclopedia was bookish AND cool. I mean, he had a best friend that could knock out even the meanest bully and his dad asked him to help solve police crimes! And to top it all off, I could solve most of the crimes that he did!
Now, with the rebirth of the book series (so that they look more contemporary), I have introduced my own students to these books that bring back so many good memories…
Well, it’s another first for me. In 10 minutes, I am going to participate in my first ever virtual readathon!
I came across this readathon through my contacts on Twitter. I am following all those reading around the world as they update their progress and share opinions about the books they are reading. What a neat experience.
I am going to start my journey with Book 8 of The 39 Clues – The Emperor’s Code.