Those of us involved with books - especially children's books hear of banned books a lot - the controversy is nothing new. Yet, I managed to be surprised almost every time it happens.
First it was Sherman Alexie's Diary of a Part-time Indian.
Now it's one of my favorite books of all time. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. (Read Laurie's fantastic response HERE.)
I first read Speak a few years ago. I was teaching high school English in San Diego. During my second period class, I had 30 students - 28 of which were very open about telling me they 1. Hated Reading and 2. Hadn't Read Anything Since Goosebumps.
We had a rather strict curriculum and students were supposed to read The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and Catcher in the Rye. In that order. Over the span of 18 weeks. With the exception of The Scarlet Letter, I love all these books (and even Scarlet Letter has merit, it just wasn't ever for me). But in a class of kids who rolled their eyes at me, I knew it was looking to be a tough year.
That was the year I got into YA literature. And so did those 28 kids who swore to me reading was a waste of time.
I saw Twilight spread like wildfire through the classroom and ultimately the school. I witnessed students discussing Looking for Alaska without a teacher prompting them to do so. Students who would have told me poetry was evil and something they couldn't possibly ever understand read Crank and asked me if I could pre-order the next Ellen Hopkins' book.
They still weren't all that stoked about the books they had to read for class (and I don't doubt that many of them didn't read most of those assigned chapters). But they were excited about reading. And they read something.
Which is the point.
But more than ever I want teens to read. I want everyone to read. I want people to love it the way I love it. They don't have to become book hoarders like I am, but the power of the written word - I want them to experience that.
Sundays are for Sailing - Groupon has never failed me. When my friends and I spotted a BYOB sailing trip deal on the site, we hopped on that and booked a day that worked for all of ...