21 September 2010

Bloggers Speak Out

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, "Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education" by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.

Just so everyone knows – Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to read any of the three books mentioned in the article of doom by one Dr. Scroggins. However, I do have Speak here and will be reading it soon. Also, I have plans to purchase both Twenty Boy Summer and Slaughterhouse Five just because of what Dr. Scroggins said about them. I have to say Thank You to Dr. Scroggins for bumping these to the top of my must read lists. And, now that I have that out of the way, on to what this post is really about.

After reading the more than controversial article written by Dr. Scroggins – I knew that I had a few things I’d like to say on the matter. It’s taken me a couple of days to try to get the words right. To convey just what I wanted to say, and yet I still don’t believe I’ll be able to find the right words… but I’ll try. So here goes.

First off, any talk of book banning instantly starts my alarm bells ringing! It amazes me that in this day and age, that here in the United States we are still banning books. I have no idea how such an archaic event still exists. It boggles my mind. Sadly, some of (not all) the most controversial plotlines or books for that matter are written about extremely traumatic things that can happen to you, me, anyone. It’s not only the good things in life that people can or want to relate to, but also the bad. It’s the bad things in life that people need to know they are not alone in.

I whole heartedly believe that it’s because of these true to life books and the authors behind them that more young adults and adults alike find ways to better communicate about the harder topic’s that people of all ages, from all the corners of the world are sadly faced with. Communicating about any harder topics not only begins the healing process, but, this might be a shocker to Dr. Scroggins and other like minded people, it actually helps to prevent tragic events too. I know – shocking right? However, as the say and even a professor should know this – knowledge is power - plain and simple. Taking such knowledge and power out of our education system is dumbing down of the highest order.

Why take such a huge resource away from anyone? It hurts my heart to know that a person or group could or would think that they have the right to say what I can and can’t read, especially in an environment where discussion and explanations are part of the agenda. Outside of our field of education it’s up to the individual to seek discussion, school is actually a place where this content should be encouraged! It’s maddening to know that in the year 2010 any one person might feel they have a right to make a choice for me, for anyone.

As for Dr. Scroggins, he needs a reality check. That might sound a little harsh I know, however, hear me out here for a second. How anyone could even remotely be mistaken when reading a Rape scene as anything other than the violent, horrific, tragic and fearful event that it truly is, is, - let’s be honest here – shocking. How can one even begin to consider while reading that it’s “soft porn”? I cringed when I read that in is article. Does he not live in the real world? These things happen. Sadly, they happen everyday, around the world. Just because something might be written about the darker side of life, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be read, or talked about. I think that it should be talked about. It needs to be talked about. It needs to be read about, because people need to know they are not alone. Because lets face it, both the good and the bad exist in this world we live in. Helping to learn is helping to prevent. Reading about it gives knowledge that someone might not otherwise get from somewhere else. Why anyone wants to take any bit of knowledge away from someone is just heartbreaking.

I know I will be heard. What about you?

We all need to Speak Out about the things that matter.
We all need to Speak Out about the harder topics to heal and help prevent.
We each have voice, so Speak Out and be heard.

It’s your turn, Speak Out and people will listen.

If you would like to participate in this event, please visit Natalie over at Mindful Musings. She is happy to have anyone who would like to Speak Out. Just head on over to her blog and leave her a comment or send her an email and saying you'd like to join in

Also, don't forget that next week is Banned Book Week.

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  1. I'm with you...I'm buying Speak and reading it as part of my Banned Book Weeks Challenge, so much thanks to the nutjob who wrote the article. He has brought more attention to a book that some of us may have missed out on .. a book that speaks to issues that all young girls should be aware of ... As a parent, it's my duty to screen what my children are and aren't allowed to read and see and play ... mine .. not anyone else's. Would I want my youngest one reading some of the challenged books? No .. but it's a parent's choice. One that astounds ME is "The Giver", which all three of my oldest daughters read in elementary school (they were in advanced placement classes), and even re-read in high school. I remember the lively discussions we had around this book, which is in no way that I can see, remotely inappropriate. Plus, it's good enough to make kids WANT to read. Well, that's my two cents, for what it's worth.

    Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

  2. Great post! I am a huge supporter of banned books week! I haven't read any of the books in mention of the article, but I do have both Slaughterhouse 5 and Twenty Boy Summer. Perhaps I'll read them both next week!

  3. Great job Lisa! I already owned and read Speak prior to this article, but I bought Twenty Boy Summer JUST because of Scroggins. I'll eventually get around to reading Slaughterhouse Five as well.

    Thanks for speaking out!

  4. You definitley found the right words. I loved reading your post. I haven't read any of the three novels but like you I will now.

    I spoke loud on my blog just the other day but from a Norwegian point of view. I think we're really lucky here, I have never experience a novel being banned here, but I still wanted to say my pice to support those who live in countries where books like Speak is being banned from the schools etc.

  5. I hate banning - give everyone a choice to read what they want. In honor of the week, we're giving away Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

    Great post, you said it all!
    Teens Read and Write

  6. Fantastic post, thank you. I don't know the other two, but I know that Speak is a really important book for teenagers - it was a comfort to me when I was a lonely outcast at high school, though thankfully I'd never been through anything so horrendous as Melinda. I can't understand the mentality behind banning books, especially for high school students, and this one is more than a story, it's been a lifeline for so many in the last ten years. To take that away would be potentially disastrous.

  7. I am delighted that Scroggins' letter is boosting sales of Speak. :-) Not to mention mobilizing many wonderful, articulate bloggers.


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