Young Adult Book Reading Challenges discussion

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Speak Discussions > Censorship

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message 1: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
What do you think about censoring books? Due to its controversial subject matter, Speak has often been challenged. In the Platinum Edition of Speak, released 2006, Anderson spoke out against censorship. At the end of the novel, after an interview regarding the content of the book, Anderson wrote: “But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them."
From Wikipedia.

alisonwonderland (Alison) | 30 comments i am totally opposed to censorship. i think Anderson's quote is spot on!

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Ditto.

message 4: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I have never really understood censorship of books. Like when no one wanted Harry Potter read by their kids.

Lauren (laza) | 7 comments I had never heard of this book before, so I wasn't aware about the censorship issue. I never had parents that really paid that much attention to what I was reading when I was a teen. So, I think it is totally crazy to try and stop kids from reading books. I mean, there is an important lesson to be learned in this book, namely that tragedy and really really bad things that happen to you can be won over. you can move past the bad things by focusing on the good things. Melinda spirals downward, and it is really bad. She probably should have gotten more help from the adults around her, without having to ask. But she manages to come out of it. And she gets help along the way, she doesn't do it alone.

So, i think it is ridiculous to censor in general, but especially this book. People get so paranoid that their children can't think for themselves, but they should have been worried about that long before they became teenagers.

message 6: by Courtney (last edited Jan 06, 2009 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Courtney (bookedwithcourt) Censoring is...bad. If you don't want your kid to read the book, then don't let them until a certain age. I could see not wanting your nine-year-old to read Speak. But 12 or older? No. Think about what you see on the news. Most of the things that happen in them(the books) is just about equal to what you see on the news. Besides, not letting your kid do something just places the want in the kid. I have a friend who's guardian wouldn't let her read Twilight. So she went behind her back and read it anyway.
You can't hide things from your kid. Its wrong. When they're 18, you don't want them going into the world as a book smart "adult" and a not-street-smart teenager. Also, hiding those things, even through books, could make your kid even dumber. The books teach 'lessons' to us. So you know what could happen if you do drugs. Or drink. Normally, the explain things in a good way, but with negative consequences.
Also, Speak has a very real way of putting feelings and thoughts out there. So you don't want to experience them. And it did/does teach teenagers about the issue in the book. Did you read that special edition one, with all the questions at the back? Some guys didn't even understand what things like that do to a girl, or anyone. So they learned something.

Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments my parents are strict, but when it comes to censorship, they're pretty easy

and plus, what anderson wanted to say wouldn't have gotten through if she had 'censored' her book

and considering all that she wrote in the rape scene, id consider it 'censored' anyway

Heather Blackmon (hblackmon) I'm actually surprised this book was the target of censorship - there are no graphic scenes, language, or glorification of controversial issues. It shows a high school student who was victimized and the agony she went through by NOT speaking up about a rape. I see this book as encouraging students to speak up and seek help in these types of situations. It shows the consequences of hiding the problem and the damage it does to hide it.

Vicki I agree with Heather, I am surprised about this book. I actually got it from the school library I teach at. I think this is certainly the type of book young adults should be encouraged to read, not be kept from.

Elaine (readingrat) | 24 comments My son's school is being subjected to a big censorship attack over the book Plainsong being taught as part of sophomore english. It drives me nuts. The school basically replied with the same type of argument that Anderson presented. I don't see where this book is quite THAT controversial though. Speaking as the mother of a 13 year old daughter, I would love it if I could get her (and some of her friends) to read this book. All these girls seem to go around thinking life is all Bella and Edward, when sometimes it ends up being Melinda and Andy instead.

Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments i read plainsong!

honestly, it wasn't that bad

sure there were like 3 or 4 scenes that were explicit, but keeping kids innocent of life is when they'll really have to pay for it

Elaine (readingrat) | 24 comments Diana wrote: "i read plainsong!

honestly, it wasn't that bad

sure there were like 3 or 4 scenes that were explicit, but keeping kids innocent of life is when they'll really have to pay for it"

I totally agree.

Diana  (higura_natume) | 30 comments yeah my parents are strict

but they're pretty damn easy on censorship

message 14: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Kulman (AndreaKulman) | 13 comments I have three teens. I read what they are reading so we can discuss. Some of the books they have brought home are very explicit. I keep in mind that the topics of conversation between them and their friends are probably more explicit than any book they are going to get their hands on in a school library.

message 15: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna I don't censor my daughter's books, but do tend to read them to discuss. She tends to self-censor--for instance she isn't too big on profanity so in Nick and Nora there is a section with a page of profanity. She didn't really see the point so she got the point (obviously angry) and moved on.

Diane (dianes) My kids are in college now, but when they were younger I never censored what they read, but if I wondered about a certain book, I would read it too, and let them know I was reading it and was available to talk about it if they wanted to.

message 17: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (last edited Jan 29, 2009 02:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I find these facts interesting:
"There were 546 known attempts to remove books in 2006, and more than 9, 200 attempts since the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom began to electronically compile and publish information on book challenges in 1990. Challenges are defined as formal, written complaints filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness".

In fact our book next month is another banned book, The Chocolate War has been the frequent target of censors and appears at number three on the American Library Association's list of the "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2000-2007.

message 18: by C. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C. Purtill Angie, why was The Chocolate War so often challenged? I reread that recently and can't for the life of me think why anyone would want to censor it. In fact, I think the book was taught back when I was in high school.

message 19: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (last edited Jan 30, 2009 01:07PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Humm... I will have to look it up. When I find out I will post it with the discussions in February. Might be interesting to debate whether it is worth being challenged/ banned book or not?

message 20: by C. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C. Purtill Yes, please do. I think it's important for people to know why books are challenged - the subject matter others find objectionable or consider inappropriate. I happen to believe all material has worth to someone and it's up to parents to guide their children on an individual basis - not to ban something for everyone.

Brigid ✩ I hate censorship. You might as well burn the book, for crying out loud. It's simply wrong for a) an author to be banned from saying what he/she wants to say, or b) hiding an author's hard work, just because it's controversial.

I mean, if we all read books about cute bunny rabbits all the time what would we learn? *thinks of Watership Down* Hmmm okay that was a bad example, even though the bunny rabbits in that book aren't particularly cute or happy but YOU GET WHAT I MEAN ... Books are supposed to make you feel something. Disturbing books give you a view of what the world is really like, like it or not.

message 22: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I just finished the book and see no reason to censor the book. People try to protect their kids from too much a swear word, sex, but in the end I think by censoring stuff kids may end up like Melinda. She was raped.. not sure if she was raped, not sure who to talk to. Maybe if kids weren't censored from things they would know what was out there and be more careful. She should know when you go to a party you watch out for your friends they watch out for you. But if you don't really know much about alcohol, boys, ext you may not even know how to be careful.

Brigid ✩ Exactly. Yes, rape is a touchy subject, but teens need to know about it.

message 24: by Amy (new) - rated it 1 star

Amy (kelairyy) | 2 comments I'm actually doing a project/speech on censorship (I'm against it). Anyone know any good books/links for good quotes or statistics/facts, etc.? I am definitely going to check out Speak- I read it before but never noticed the part where the author speaks out against censorship. Also, does anyone know any advocates against censorship? I know Judy Blume is one...

message 25: by Lisa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Fishpond, ya books are so good and Speak is good. It's one instance where you might want to read a book/books and once you've read them decide if you want your kids to read them. You might, especially in conjunction with a discussion with you.

message 26: by Terri (new) - added it

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 43 comments My opinion to censorship is you have a right to censor your (or your child's) reading material but you do not have a right to censor any other person (or child's) reading material.

A parent should discuss books with their kids but often they dont. Esp. if the subject is sex. But I dont think just because they won't, it should be left up to other parents/politicians etc...

And often I have found, many parents who support censoring often havent even read the book in question, so how on earth could they possibly know the issues involved with the particular book.

It is so much easier to blame the ills of society on books, tv, movies, music, video games etc... than face the fact that a lot of parents refuse to PARENT their kids.

message 27: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Fishpond I am curious what is in Marked that you would not let your kids read it. I haven't read it yet but plan on it.

Brigid ✩ Marked? like the House of Night books? errr well that one has a ummm ... blow job scene in it ... Those books have some kinda nasty material in them – I've read them all >.<

My parents don't censor what I read ... They never have. And I'm grateful for that. I mean, a lot of books that have controversial material in them are really good ... and it's not necessarily that the book is concentrated primarily on the more "adult" stuff. And even so, I think controversy is important. It teaches you what life is really like.

message 29: by Terri (new) - added it

Terri (terrilovescrows) | 43 comments the other issues is when something is forbidden, kids will go out of their way to see why. I remember hunting down Forever by Judy Blume and then was like okay... no big deal....

message 30: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
So it seems the Marked books are really more for older teens. Not 10 years olds.

Brigid ✩ No no no!! Definitely NOT for 10-year-olds!!!!!
They have a lot of language ... and sex ... so I wouldn't recommend it

message 32: by Mikaela (new)

Mikaela (loverdogmish) I think that book shouldn't be censored... although maybe you can have a censored version???? (just censoring swear words rite???) it is an authors rite to be able to express themselves... i think if people are that worried about books being inappropriate they should take the time to read comments and info on the book instead of being lazy and trying to ruin books...

message 33: by Delanie (new)

Delanie | 7 comments Amy wrote: "I'm actually doing a project/speech on censorship (I'm against it). Anyone know any good books/links for good quotes or statistics/facts, etc.? I am definitely going to check out Speak- I read it b..."

message 34: by Nicole (new) - added it

Nicole | 72 comments I beleive people have the right to read whatever they want, although I do think a censored version of books with swear words is a good idea for young children. I agree with Mikaela on this.

message 35: by Melyssa (new)

Melyssa | 30 comments Yeah! Why not have censored books? That's not such a bad idea.
I mean, a lot of musicians release albums that require the 'Parental Advisory' sticker on them. But a lot of those artists will also release a 'cleaner' version of the song.

Why can't it be that way for books? At least that way, the story may be enjoyed by more people?
Me...I'm not a huge fan of strong cuss words. A recent book I read had the F-bomb in it a few times. That word really turns me off. It didn't ruin the book for me, but I was very annoyed by it. To me, that word is so un-necessary. The book would have been fine without it, IMO.

message 36: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz (lizgore) | 4 comments that would totally ruin the whole book. an author wrote the book to be read a certain way. changing it would suck.

message 37: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
I don't think it is up to the music artist to have the toned down version of their music. Walmart used to (not sure if they still do) only seel CDs that were edited. I just don't buy my CDs there to this day. Blockbusters only rents edited movies as well (how many people know about that)??? ?? ? It is really wrong to trick people into renting movies there who think the movies aren't edited. Should there be ratings on books like video games and movies and tv shows? I don't think IMO but maybe that would help. Everything seems to have ratings anymore.

message 38: by Liz (new) - added it

Liz (lizgore) | 4 comments it isn't fair for the artist to have their work changed like that. it was their vision and that could have totally ruined it. if you don't like it don't read/watch it.

Brigid ✩ yeah, i agree. i mean, i understand that ppl don't want kids to hear bad words or whatever. but still ... i listen to unedited music, and if it has any language in it i just don't listen to it around my siblings. problem solved!

maybe books should just have ratings or something, the way movies do ... that way ppl would know if there was language; and if they wanted to get all worked up about it, they wouldn't have to read the book. haha.

message 40: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Heather (heatherjoy) I think anyone who censors books is ignorant and daft to be honest. Any parent who thinks that they are protecting their children from the subject matter written into books they do not approve of is blind. A child is more likely to learn about s*x from kids in the bathroom at school than their parent, no matter how "open to conversation" the parent is. Not letting a child read Speak is utterly ridiculous. Do parents believe that if they hide books, avoid colorful language, etc, that their children will never be pressured about s*x, a victim of a crime, exposed to badly behaved teens, etc? If they do, they can think again. What truly blows my mind is the very books they are banning cause they happen to deal with such things, are riding their children of seeing an alternate way of addressing such issues. Melinda of Speak keeps her suffering to herself and suffers for it. In my mind, that sends an amazing and empowering message to teens to NOT be silent. How is this bad? By banning such books, parents are actually closing the door on their children. It sends a message that you as a parent, are so uncomfortable with your teen knowing about a topic, that you are forbidding them to read about it. Do you really think that opens lines of communication? It doesn't. It will make them think you are a prude and they will avoid talking to you at all costs if they can help it. To these parents and adults banning books, I say grow up and stop pretending you live in a bubble.

Heather (heatherjoy) Also, many times when parents say they want their children to learn about these things from them, what they really mean is I want to impose my ideals upon my child rather than allowing them to be exposed to the world and decide for themselves.

Tatiana (tatiana_g) Well said Heather

Heather (heatherjoy) Thank you :)

message 45: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
Heather wrote: "Also, many times when parents say they want their children to learn about these things from them, what they really mean is I want to impose my ideals upon my child rather than allowing them to be e..."

I agree. I remember (this is going to age me) when the Salt and Pepper song came out "Let's Talk About Sex" , that this girl's mother wouldn't let her listen to the top 40 station because she didn't want the girl to hear the song. Not listen to the radio... a lot of songs sing about sex.

Robert | 1 comments Censorship is, in my view, a rather abhorrent form of thought control. Something best avoided. Knowledge is to be cherished. Not feared.

message 47: by Angie, YA lovin mod!! (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angie | 2687 comments Mod
The drama with this book still goes on:

message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I think that a parent should be able to decide what books their own child can and cannot read, but all out censoring books for everyone is a ridiculous idea.

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