Thursday, December 08, 2005

Another Book Ban (*sigh*)

This time, it's the wonderful THE EARTH, MY BUTT, AND OTHER ROUND THINGS, by Carolyn Mackler, and it's happened in Baltimore.

The article is behind a subscription firewall, but the key paragraph is this one:

"After reading the book and discussing it, the committee decided in October that the book should continue to be available at middle and high schools, said Hildebrandt, who oversees the reconsideration committee but does not vote.

"Parents were unhappy with the committee's decision and appealed to Ecker [the superintendent], Hildebrandt said.

"After skimming passages of the book, Ecker ordered it removed from all of the county's school libraries in mid-October."

In other words, parents complained, a committee reviewed the book (by, um, actually READING it!) and said, no, this deserves to be in our libraries. So the parents went to superintendent who "skimmed some passages" and pulled the book.

*deep heavy sigh*

7 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

For aspiring writers, this sort of story can really take the oomph out of anything you want to do. I start to second guess what I'm writing and try to stop just shy of self-censorship. It really infuriates me. I know that's essentially playing into their hands ("Don't write like this and we won't ban it.") but it's scary nonetheless.

And that's the point: fear as a weapon being used once again to keep the masses in check. AS IFs actions in the St. Andrew's incident have been very inspiring. They remind me to stick to my guns, be true to the work, and inspire the finished product to shout, "Small minds have small impact!"

Go AS IF!

6:34 AM  
Blogger Arthur Slade said...

Yeah, the banning of books can take the "oomph" out of you. That inner-censor can be almost as bad as the outer, one (but not quite). It's frustrating because most of us writers just want to write---we don't want to have to fight to keep our books in libraries, etc., too.

Art

8:01 PM  
Blogger Lisa Yee said...

Sad that the school superintendent merely skimmed the book. I say, he should have to read it, write a book report about it, and then read it in front of students who will grade him.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Carolyn Mackler said...

Thank you, AS IF!, for supporting The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. What an effort this has been! The Supt. still hasn't made his decision, but the Baltimore Sun is running story after story about it. Today they have an Op Ed from my publisher. Tomorrow they're hoping for a front-page story about the hundreds of teens who are petitioning to keep The Earth... in their high schools.

That's the most amazing part -- this outpouring of support from teen readers, author friends, the NCAC, SCBWI, and the ACLU. What can I say? Thank you. I'm honored to be part of such a stellar community.

I just read the comments on the blog. Brian, PLEASE don't allow the banning to curb any of your writing! Don't let it take the oomph out for a second. If you are true to your characters and narrative, the publishers will print it, the librarians will order it, the readers will love it (and need it). And only a small group may have a problem with it. But it's not your job to worry about that. Your job is to write the best stories possible. Good luck!

8:37 AM  
Blogger Barb Huff said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carolyn. Keep up the fight and keep us posted!

10:51 AM  
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8:18 PM  

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