Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Banned Books Week! Plus, GIVEAWAYS!

 Hey, sweet readers.

So I know I've been MIA for awhile - going back to work at the busiest time of the year after a new baby while revising a manuscript will do that to you - but this week I have pretty much the best excuse ever to kick my butt back into regular blogging....


I love banned books.

First, I should say I don't believe in banning or in any way censoring books for children. Or anyone, really, but especially for children. (Yes, I'm a mother. Of both boys and girls.) I've blogged about that before here and I'm also talking about it over on my dear friend Andrea's blog today.

Today, I want to tell you a little bit about some books that have shaped me as a reader and a writer. They've all been banned in one library or another.

1984 by Orson Wells and The Giver by Lois Lowry - I read them both in sixth grade, have been a dystopian junkie ever since. Equal parts terrifying and thrilling because LOOK WHAT THE HUMAN SPIRIT CAN ACCOMPLISH, you know?

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I read this as part of English glass in seventh grade, and I'll never forget Scout and her courage, and the teacher who helped my young brain unpack and analyze its deep themes of racial inequality and fighting for justice.

Forever by Judy Blume - Raise your hand if this book taught you things about sex your parents couldn't stomach telling you. Go ahead. No one can see you.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - Taught me that ideas are the most powerful weapons possible.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - This book was so important to ten-year-old, pudgy, glasses-wearing, geekiest-kid-in-English-class, so far from the popular-kids'-table-it-could-have-been-a-mirage me. Meg Murry was awkward and misunderstood and angry and brilliant and not only did her brains save the day, but got the boy too. (Calvin - *swoon*)

(Only she could pull off that first line. *sigh*)

Sweet readers, these books are such a huge part of what made me who I am that it actually makes me tear up to think about what my childhood and teen years would have been like without them.

And some of the books that have been banned in libraries, schools, and programs across America since then? I don't want to think about my kids growing up without Harry Potter and The Hunger Games to read.

So. Instead of thinking about that, I decided to do the thing that makes me happiest on Banned Books Week - give away banned books!

I'm so grateful to have a couple good friends helping me out with that:

John Hansen over at Teens Can Write Too has a great list of contemporary banned books AND is hosting a giveaway  of The Perks of Being a Wallflower sponsored by me and my friends the YA Misfits.

Andrea Hannah is interviewing me about my thoughts and feelings on banning books, and hosting a giveaway of Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

Please run over to their blogs and comment and enter to win! And read a banned book in honor of Banned Books Week! 

And, of course, I want to know - What is your favorite banned book? (A decent list here.)


  1. Gah. CALVINNNNNN. I loved A Wrinkle in Time series! I also read her Acceptable Time book (about Meg and Calvin's daughter Peggy) and for the 4th or 5th grade created a game board for it. Yes. *is a Madeline L'Engle nerd*

    My favorite banned book is probably...well...I'm not sure. I love THE GIVER and TWENTY BOY SUMMER which I just read recently and SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. Just...LOVE THEM ALL. ;-)

  2. To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye!

  3. First of all, that macaroni and cheese picture at the bottom of this post (Under You Might Also Like) is making me hungry!

    And can I choose ALL of the books on your banned books list? Plus Where's Waldo, and the Dr. Seuss books, and Shel Silverstein's collected works, and so many others. Oh, and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, which not only has a fantastic title but is also a great book that discusses some topics kids really need to be free to discuss. And Speak, of course, by Laurie Halse Anderson. Honestly, I don't think I could narrow it down to one.

    This was always such a fun week when I was a high school librarian. I printed out lists of the 100 most-often-banned books from the last year and let the kids take them. They were always stunned to see some of their beloved favorites on the list. It was a great discussion-starter.

  4. I hate to be mainstream, but I'd have to go with the Harry Potter series. I was surprised to see the Junie B. Jones series on the list. They're great as chapter books go.

  5. I'm a big fan of the His Dark Materials series... I even went to the Botanical Gardens and found Lyra and Will's bench when I was in Oxford! :D