Thirteen Ways to Look at Censorship


Young Writers Talk About Censorship, Free Speech and Stories They Need to Tell
Compiled and edited by Leonard S. Marcus

Since books have existed, there have been censors trying to keep them away from other people. Today these efforts range from outright bans to limiting its availability by removing a book from library shelves or cutting it from classroom curricula. The American Library Association publishes lists of the most frequently banned and challenged books, and these obviously include mostly children’s and young adult titles.

“You Can’t Say That,” a compilation of interviews by children’s literature expert Leonard S. Marcus, offers an antidote to the censors and raises the voices of 13 authors whose children’s books are challenged. Marcus explores not only what makes these works controversial, but also the life paths that have led writers to pursue their subjects, and how they have responded to campaigns to silence their work – all of which will surely appeal to students as well as young fans. free talk.

Marcus speaks with Dav Pilkey, whose Captain Underpants series routinely tops banned book lists for a variety of reasons, from fart jokes to the depiction of a family with two fathers, and Matt de la Peña, whose novel “The Mexican White Boy” was crucified. Feathers of a political struggle over a Mexican American studies program in Tucson’s public school system. Reading these authors who share their reasons for addressing sensitive issues is to understand that the fights over their books are fundamental struggles over how we raise and educate the next generation.

While few writers expected Marcus interviews to be censored, nearly all deliberately pushed the boundaries by sharing perspectives that most children wouldn’t have access to. Robie H. Harris, best known for “It’s Perfectly Normal,” a nonfiction study about puberty and sex, has been warned that giving kids explicit and factual information will ruin her career. He moved forward determined to provide children with answers to important questions in their lives that most adults would rather not discuss. While Harris describes feeling “terrible” for librarians and booksellers who received physical threats after making her books available, she takes to heart the story of a young girl who reported being abused by her father after learning from Harris. it behavior is not normal at all.

Angie Thomas, author of “The Hate U Give,” topped the ALA Top 10 list two years in a row. The reason usually given was the book’s profanity, but Thomas believes its plot—the murder of an unarmed Black teenager by a white police officer—caused the school district to call it “scum.” The experience of hearing from children and parents deprived of a book they wanted to read prompted Thomas to address the issue of censorship in his second novel, “On the Come Up,” which portrays rap music as both a way of expressing subversive ideas and subversive ideas. A destination for those who want to compress unpopular viewpoints.

Marcus’ interviews reveal what’s at stake when the books are challenged. Authors can be blocked while conveying their most pressing insights. Vulnerable readers may be deprived of information that can help them make sense of their lives, feel less alone, or seek help. Attempts to ban literary works are a powerful reminder of how important books still are in the digital age.


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