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Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook, #1)
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Book Related Banter > Banned Books Week: Featuring LGBT YA and MG Books with a Giveaway

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message 1: by Erica (last edited Sep 30, 2012 06:40AM) (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Hi guys :)

It's Banned Books Week, so I'm dedicating this week to LGBT books that have been banned or have been subjected to attempts of being banned. I'm giving away a copy of Geography Club by Brent Hartinger to anyone who comments on these posts. However, my blog is 18+ but I want people younger than that to have a chance to win, so I'm extending the giveaway to this group. I'll be copying the posts this week and pasting them here. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment here.

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This week is Banned Books Week (Sept 30 - Oct 6th). I have no doubt that many of today's GLBT books are being banned all over the world. However, only a handful of those instances gets reported. Throughout this week, I will feature an LGBT book a day that's been either banned due to homosexual content, or has been under some discrimination and attempts of being banned (for the same or other reasons - note, I've learned that people have been hiding behind "sexual content" and "inappropriate language" to get LGBT off the YA library shelves!).

Today's feature is Geography Club by Brent Hartinger (check out the giveaway at the end of this post). It was "withdrawn" in 2006 at the Curtis Junior High and Curtis Senior High Schools libraries after parents claimed the book could result in ""a casual and loose approach to sex", encourage use of Internet porn and the physical meeting of people through chat rooms". In 2009-2010 there were attempts to have it removed from the West Bend (WI) Community Memorial Library by the West Bend Citizens for Safe Libraries group, but the attempt was unsuccessful. Score one for the library! (Information and quotation from the Marshall University Libraries).

Here's a short, but interesting essay by the author on the whole matter: They Tried to Ban My Gay Teen Book.

Blurb:

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.

Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer–playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike.

But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?

"We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!"

Brent Hartinger's debut novel, what became first of a series about Russel Middlebrook, is a fast–paced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of high school and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.


You can buy this book from major (and minor) retailers, like
Amazon and Barns&Noble. Or you can try to win a copy by leaving a comment along with your email address* to any of the banned books posts this week (only one entry though and one prize for the whole week). That's right. To kick off the Banned Books Week, I'm giving away an e-copy of Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. The premise of this story sounds so interesting and I love the blurb.

*If you don't want your email address posted here, feel free to send me mail at eripike at gmail dot com. I will also make this contest open in the YA LGBT Books on Goodreads, for those who aren't old enough to enter this site.

The winner will be randomly drawn, contacted and announced on October 6th - the last day of this awareness week.


message 2: by Sammy Goode (new)

Sammy Goode | 4687 comments Thanks Erica! Friends just to restate. Erica's blog is 18+ only. So leave your info here if you don't make the age restrictions. Thanks again for bringing this here Erica!!!


message 3: by Erica (last edited Sep 30, 2012 06:40AM) (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Sammy2006 wrote: "Thanks Erica! Friends just to restate. Erica's blog is 18+ only. So leave your info here if you don't make the age restrictions. Thanks again for bringing this here Erica!!!"

You're welcome. I hope some people will want to sign up for this book. I haven't read it, but I'm going to order myself a paperback ^.^ It sounds *that* interesting. Then my boys can read it once they're old enough.

I've highlighted the +18 bit in my post, just to be sure. Actually, I should remove the link to my blog altogether. I'll be posting the entries here as well anyway.


Kaje Harper | 9882 comments Erica wrote: "I've highlighted the +18 bit in my post, just to be sure. Actually, I should remove the link to my blog altogether. I'll be posting the entries here as well anyway.
..."


Thanks for doing this. Geography Club is a great book and barely PG - the only reason it is banned is for being honest and positive LGBT.


Penumbra | 29 comments Great idea bringing these banned books to our attention. It's amazing how people make up wild accusations about books in order to ban them.

Count me in for the giveaway please, thanks! :)


Byron (byft) | 1075 comments I'm going to throw in my two cents worth... I've got a copy that I've read twice... It was the first book of Brent's that I read... brilliant!!!!!!! really really loved it so much.


message 7: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments That's great to know, Byron. I'm going to Bookdepository after this week (in case I discover more books I must buy in print) and order it along with tomorrow's book - can't WAIT to share that one.

Here's today:



My second Banned Books Week LGBT feature is Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan.

Again, I'm borrowing information and quotation from a preexisting blog. This one from Censorship-Free Libraries where it says that there is nothing objectionable about this book other than the content (as in, they can't ban it for bad language or sexual content). However, the blog also says: "In spite of its G rating, challenges to Boy Meet Boy crop up. It was challenged in 2009 at the West Bend (Wisconsin) public library [West Bend again... Remember the attempts to ban Geography Club?], after the library put in on a gay-themed reading list. The Oklahoma Library Association noted a challenge in 2003. Neither of these direct challenges was successful, although an article in Random House Inc. magazine indicates that the book is stolen from libraries with some frequency."

Honestly? Stolen so it won't be available in the libraries? Some people will go to any lengths...

Blurb:

Considered groundbreaking upon its publication in 2003, Boy Meets Boy is now 10 years old and David Levithan's debut about two teenage boys finding love is still in print and still as heartwarming. The world was different when Boy Meets Boy first appeared and attitudes have changed, but this novel is just as relevant and enjoyable as it was then. To mark the 10th anniversary, this edition features new backmatter from the author, including an original story about the scene-stealing, fan-favorite Infinte Darlene--literature's only star quarterback and homecoming queen. David is now considered one of the most important voices in YA literature, having since authored Every Day, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist with Rachel Cohn, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green, and fans of his more recent books will not be disappointed by his very first.

You can buy Boy Meets Boy from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.

If you want to read an excellent post about banned books, I recommend Banned Books Week: Smoke Screen of Hypocrisy.

The contest for Geography Club is still running - just leave a comment in this thread.


message 8: by K (new)

K (K-polipetl) | 4032 comments Boy meets Boy was one of the first LGBT books I ever read. My copy is extremely battered these days (which reminds me, must get round to getting an electronic copy soon) as it gets lent out to my mother's pupils on a regular basis.


Kaje Harper | 9882 comments Wow, Erica, the links you have are great. Well, sad and infuriating sometimes, but very informative. Thank you so much!


message 10: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 9882 comments I do wonder if the book is sometimes stolen by kids who want to read it but don't dare check it out.


Penumbra | 29 comments I feel sorry for the kids that have to grow up in West Bend. It must be hard for both gay and straight with the adults manipulating their views over sexuality to such an extent as to affect a library book.


message 12: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Kaje, that could very well be it. I honestly wouldn't see myself as a kid/teen checking out books on this subject, especially in narrow-minded communities. Of course, things were different when I was a kid (I sound ancient when I say that!), but still, it's a very sensitive age.

You thing these two featured books have it bad - just wait until tomorrow's book. I was writing the post today and jeeze!


message 13: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments I'm posting very late today. Things have been hectic in real life :/ Today's post is just shocking!



Day three of Banned Books Week. I planned to feature lesser talked-about LGBT books that have been subjected to prejudice in the form of having been banned from libraries or have been through attempts to be banned. However, And Tango Makes Three is true story of two male penguins that adopted an egg! I just had to feature that. Plus, the whole circus around having it banned just blew my mind.

And Tango Makes Three is a story for kids aged 4 and up, and I'm telling you guys, it is sooooo sweet. Here, you can watch it on YouTube with the images (that made me go "awww!" so many times and I've vowed to buy this book and read for my kids. I'll have to translate it, but I'm doing it. And I left an Amazon review).

Watch the whole story with the illustrations on this YouTube video (roughly 8 minutes).

Here are Author's Note from the YouTube video: "All of the events in this story are true. Roy and Silo are called chinstrap penguins because of the delicate line of black feathers that loops under their beaks, as if to hold a hat in place. After years of living side by side in the Central Park Zoo, they discovered each other in 1998 and they have been a couple ever since. Tango, their only chick, was born from an egg laid by another penguin couple named Betty and Porkey. That couple had often hatched their own eggs, but they had never been able to care for more than one at a time. In 2000, when Betty laid two fertile eggs, Rob Gramzay decided to give Roy, Silo, and one of those eggs a chance to become a family. If you go to the Central Park Zoo, you can see Tango and her parents splashing about in the penguin house along with their friends, including Nipper, Squawk, Charlie, Wasabi, and Piwi. There are forty-two chinstrap penguins in the Central Park Zoo and over ten million chinstraps in the world. But there is only one Tango.

by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2005"


But of course there have to be closed-minded people to object this sweet little story! This book has been at ALA's top 10 list of most challenged books in America five years in a row! In 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 it was THE most challenged book (as in, most reported for inappropriateness). In 2009 it was "only" the second most reported book. Thankfully, it didn't make the top 10 in 2011.

Take a look at this video (6 minutes long)!

You can buy And Tango Makes Three from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.


message 14: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 9882 comments OMG - people are determined that facts and truth will not be allowed to interfere with their preconceptions. And heaven forbid that facts should be allowed to derail their brainwashing of their kids. This is an adorable book.


Penumbra | 29 comments Erica wrote: "I'm posting very late today. Things have been hectic in real life :/ Today's post is just shocking!

Day three of Banned Books Week. I planned to feature lesser talked-about LGBT books that have ..."


I remember this story from the news I think. I can't believe people would get upset about penguins! I wonder if they also get upset with dogs raising kittens that have lost their mums or other species like that.


Ab2y (Abrar-wants-to-read-too!)  (Ab2y) | 286 comments “الصوت هو بصر من لا يستطيع الرؤية” ― José Saramago it means "Sound is the sight of those who can't see ." and i think that books and writers have the loudest voices . people can't just banned a book that's crazy , oh i know because i live in a country everything is banned in it not just books ( girls can't wear pants here ) but i do , i think 90% of what i do or read is banned here but come on ! no one can banned you your freedom that's just plain ridiculous .
If they want to banned a book banned The hunger games or rather the whole dystopian genre oh wait it's banned . just want to say to the crazy people out there two words in Arabic :الممنوع مرغوب it means what been forbidden is desirable .


message 17: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 9882 comments Penumbra wrote: "I remember this story from the news I think. I can't believe people would get upset about penguins! I wonder if they also get upset with dogs raising kittens that have lost their mums or other species like that.
.."


A sweet, true story of two male animals raising a baby might make kids think it was okay and natural for two men to be together and raise a child. Heaven forbid.


message 18: by Elci (new) - added it

Elci   | 828 comments Yeah, sadly books are challenged all the time. It's like we're doing some thought crime by reading. Sigh.


message 19: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments And today's post :)



Fourth day of Banned Books Week and I decided to feature a book about a boy who is a girl on the inside: Luna, by Julie Anne Peters. I have read both the blurb and a short summary on Wikipedia and I must say, I have to have it! Jeeze, I think I'll probably end up buying paperback copies of all of these books and donate them to Iceland's LGBT center. Hmm...or maybe I should just donate them to my local library instead, so non-LGBT people will be more inclined to check them out.

Blurb:

Regan's brother Liam can't stand the person he is during the day. Like the moon from whom Liam has chosen his female namesake, his true self, Luna, only reveals herself at night. In the secrecy of his basement bedroom Liam transforms himself into the beautiful girl he longs to be, with help from his sister's clothes and makeup. Now, everything is about to change-Luna is preparing to emerge from her cocoon. But are Liam's family and friends ready to welcome Luna into their lives? Compelling and provocative, this is an unforgettable novel about a transgender teen's struggle for self-identity and acceptance.

Now, of course there's controversy. I mean, if books about two male penguins hatching an egg together and raising little Tango is considered by some people harmful to kids, then a book about a guy who's a girl will definitely be considered harmful. I mean, we can't let people be themselves and be accepted for it, now can we? No, that would make the world too accepting and there wouldn't be enough balance between justice and prejudice and it would result in the end of humanity as we know it.

Now, my university teacher always says that Wikipedia isn't a reliable source, but I'm going to quote it anyway:

"Although there is not much published about the censorship of Luna, the novel is part of the list of restricted/banned books of Texas due to the topics of transgender and homosexuality as well as rough language.[1] Despite winning multiple awards, the book revolves around sexual orientation, which is often left out of the school curriculum."

That's just the thing. Another way to keep these books hidden from kids (and thereby censored) is to not include them in the school curriculum. I think it should be mandatory to have some sort of (positive) enlightenment on LGBT (and racial) matters in every school - not just once but over and over to practice acceptance. I'm going to check the reading list in the school my sons will attend next year. I swear, if my Icelandic was better, I'd spend time translating some of these books and try to get the national school board to include them in the schools (I doubt they would object, the problem is that we don't have that many Icelandic MG/YA LGBT fiction).

According to the Banned Books Database, Luna has been challenged for "Dysfunctional family (family problems), Sexuality (Transexuality/Transgender), and use of Profanity".

You can buy Luna from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.


message 20: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 9882 comments I loved Luna - so well done. And seriously - they're going to ban teen books for Dysfunctional Family?!


message 21: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Kaje wrote: "I loved Luna - so well done. And seriously - they're going to ban teen books for Dysfunctional Family?!"

I guess they were getting desperate to find something wrong with it, hehe.


Penumbra | 29 comments This book sounds compelling. I may have to add this to my reading list.


message 23: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments

Fifth day of Banned Books Week and I'm featuring Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden. I actually had this book, given to me as a prize during Banned Books Week some years back, but I donated it to Iceland's LGBT center a month ago. I did make an honest attempt to read it, I just didn't like the literal style of it, so I didn't get past the first couple of chapters. However, this week isn't about which style you like. This book has been through some serious hardships.

But first, a little bit about the book. It was first published in 1982, so it's an oldie written in a time where there was even less tolerance toward homosexuality. Here's one of the blurbs on Goodreads:

This groundbreaking book is the story of two teenage girls whose friendship blossoms into love and who, despite pressures from family and school that threaten their relationship, promise to be true to each other and their feelings. This book is so truthful and honest, it has been banned from many school libraries and even publicly burned in Kansas City.

I did not see it on the list of top ten reported books of the 21st century, however, it is number 44 on ALA's list of 100 most frequently challenged books 's 1990-1999. Naturally, this book was on West Bend's list of books-to-challenge. This book was also burned in Kansas in 1993 and there was a court case in regards to another big banning incident (you can read about this on Wiki).

In 1994 (still citing Wiki here), a play was written based on this novel. Our old buddy Fred Phelps and his followers picketed the production. I wonder if they had little kids hold up those colorful "Got Hates Fags" and "Fags Die. God Laughs" signs back then (yeah, that latter one sounds so grade school - couldn't they come up with a better one?). If you ask me, though, Fred Phelps seems to hate God! Or at least his God is way more hateful than mine.

You can buy Annie on My Mind from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.


message 24: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Ah, jeez, late here. I've been away all day. Last day's tomorrow.



For the sixth day of Banned Books Week I'm featuring King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. Another children's book that's been repeatedly challenged, despite winning awards. Published in 2003, it was on ALA's top 10 list of most frequently challenged (reported) books two years in a row (2003 and 2004). Not the five consecutive years And Tango Makes Three got, but getting on that list once is bad enough.

As the title suggests, this book is about a prince who marries another prince. According to some Goodreads reviews the women in this book are displayed in a very negative way, but the reason this book is on ALA's list is because of homosexual content. It's clearly stated - no dancing around the reason.

I like this article about the controversy surrounding this book, especially this part:

"The core of this battle is, of course, a fight over information, and opponents of gay rights know that the more information people, including kids, get about homosexuality, the less likely they are to end up being prejudiced against gays and lesbians."

That's exactly why people are trying to ban these books.

Blurb:

Once there lived a lovelorn prince whose mother decreed that he must marry by the end of the summer. So began the search to find the prince's perfect match and lo and behold......his name was Lee. You are cordially invited to join the merriest, most unexpected wedding of the year. KING & KING is a contemporary tale about finding true love and living happily ever after, sure to woo readers of any age. A great gift. Exuberant artwork full of visual play calls for repeated readings. Accelerated Reader quiz available.

You can buy King & King from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.


Penumbra | 29 comments Erica wrote:
For the sixth day of Banned Books Week I'm featuring King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland. Another children's book tha..."


Sounds like a sweet book :)


message 26: by Erica (last edited Oct 06, 2012 02:43AM) (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments Last day and the winner has been picked (congrats, Penumbra ^.^).



This one's going to be short because I'm short on time and I'm announcing a winner at the end of this post. It's the last day of Banned Books Week! Reading about these books has been a real eye-opener for me and I've found three books that I'm going to buy in print. Today's feature is The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. It was published in 1999 and I must say, the cover is perfect for the title/subject.

Blurb:

Standing on the fringes of life... offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

This is the story of what it's like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.


This book has been on ALA's top ten most frequently reported books of 2001-2011 five times. What's special about this book is that it was made into a film, roles going to Emma Watson, Ezra Miller and Logan Lerman. There's really nothing on Wikipedia about the controversy surrounding this book, but when I Google it I get tons. However - and sorry about this - I don't have time to cover it.

You can buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower from Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other retailers.

Thanks for being with me this week and I hope some of you have learned something new and will take action if there's a book banning going on in your near surroundings. I don't believe in hiding information from kids and teens. Sure, blatant erotica, but kissing and the mentioning of sex (and even behind-the-scenes sex for the younger teens - more for older teens) should be acceptable. The better hidden it is, the more curious they will become and will be likely to experiment with it themselves. If they can read about it in books, they'll partly quench that curiosity.

The same goes with LGBT matters, don't hide the information. Make it available in school libraries. By hiding it they're saying that the only form of family/person is heterosexual and a modern person should know by now that heterosexual is in no way the only way to be and that there's nothing wrong with being LGBTQ.

So, I'm leaving you with great list of YA/MG QUILTBAG books and a winner of Geography Club. I'll contact the winner tonight.

The winner is: Penumbra!


message 27: by Kaje (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kaje Harper | 9882 comments Thanks for the wonderful thread Erica, and all the links to the articles. When the written word is threatening to your worldview, and you have to keep your kids ignorant to make them believe the way you do, wouldn't that suggest there is something wrong?

One positive thing about internet and ebooks is that these stories are more widely available, even to kids who might otherwise never hear about them. Banning books is likely to become more and more futile, and that's a good thing.

Congratulations Penumbra - I liked The Geography Club a lot (and the sequel The Order of the Poison Oak is even better IMO.)


Penumbra | 29 comments Erica wrote: "Last day and the winner has been picked (congrats, Penumbra ^.^).

This one's going to be short because I'm short on time and I'm announcing a winner at the end of this post. It's the last day of..."


Thanks for choosing my name, Erica ^_^

I heard that Wallflower was made into a movie. Has anyone seen it? What did you think?


message 29: by Erica (new) - added it

Erica Pike (EricaPike) | 14 comments I haven't seen it, but it's on my to-buy list. Sounds very interesting.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Geography Club (other topics)
Boy Meets Boy (other topics)
The Order of the Poison Oak (other topics)

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Brent Hartinger (other topics)