blo Teens Read and Write: BLOGGERS SPEAK OUT! BANNED BOOKS - Get one here!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


There's been lots of buzz leading up to Banned Book Week (Sept 27-Oct 3) and our lovely affiliate Natalie @ Mindful Musings has been keeping up on all of it! She's had several posts: 

The Truth Can Change Everything: Speak Out about Speak

Speak Loudly: Follow-up Article 

(You should read Dr. Scroggins controversial article where he talks about banning books.)

Natalie has put together BLOGGERS SPEAK OUT! Here's the scoop:

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.

At Teens Read and Write we support Natalie and if you'd like to join the BLOGGERS SPEAK OUT movement, contact her through email.

The books Scroggins wants to ban

SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson

 We passionately believe that ourselves and others should be free to choose to read any book we choose. We also think that when it comes to YA, parents should be interested, involved and aware of what their kids are reading. REad and talk about books together!

We were at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, CA last night for the Smart Chicks Kick It Book Tour (more about that in another post) and found a whole wall display of banned books - check out the photos!

Wall of Shame!
We love Harry!
That's Matt Bomer from TV's White Collar!
Seriously? Dr. Seuss , the Dictionary and The Giving Tree?
One of our favorite picture books. Banned because the bear 's name had some connection to Marxism or Communism - or something equally ridiculous
Natalie has a great giveaway to win one of the three books already mentioned so go over and enter!

We're giving away one of our favorite banned books, Sherman Alexie's ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN. 

Jake wrote a review a while back and we've included it below. And at the bottom of the post check out the giveaway rules and fill out the form.

Do you have a favorite banned book?
Do you have one your planning to read?

You can no longer complain about your life at all!

As the cover implies this is an The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Arnold Spirit, Jr. or just Junior. He was born with water on the brain which is when you have an excess amount of spinal fluid in your skull. He also had 42 teeth (that's 10 more than normal).

These problems and the surgeries that followed gave him serious physical problems: an underdeveloped body (skinny), an over-sized head (to hold all the teeth), hands, and feet, as well as poor eyesight (one eye is farsighted and one is nearsighted), frequent seizures, and he not only stutters but also has a lisp. Piece of cake, right?

He lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation (rez)  in Wellpinit WA, where he is beaten - physically and mentally - and the only thing keeping him alive is his best friend Rowdy, the toughest kid in school.

On his first day of high school geometry class, Junior realizes that the book he is using was used by his mother - the book's over 30 years old. Frustrated, sad that his hopes and dreams are being destroyed, he throws his text book and accidentally hits his teacher Mr. P.

During his suspension, Mr. P visits and begs Junior to leave the rez before it's too late, before his spirit is broken and any chance of a better life is lost. Junior transfers to the all white school 22 miles away.

This kid has to deal with so much crap that anytime that I hear another kid complain about how their life sucks, I shake my head and think "Oh, if you only knew."

Junior and his family, and the entire reservation for that matter are all dirt poor, can barely afford food and sometimes don't eat anything for days. His mother is an ex-alcoholic and his father is currently an alcoholic. His sister spends all her time in their basement. When they can't afford gas for their car (because of the poverty or  his dad drank the money away) Junior walks the 22 miles to and from school or if he's lucky, he might hitch a ride.

  Rowdy used to spend his days at Junior's house because his own father is an abusive alcoholic but when Junior announces he's moving to the white school, Rowdy hits him and won't talk to him again. Rowdy even joins in one of beatings Junior gets. Junior is now an outcast on the rez as well as the white school.

The white school's tough but Junior sticks with it, finding friends and mentors who help him through the good and bad times. One thing I liked about this book is that no one was all good or all bad. The characters are complex. Junior finds friends with not only the geeks but the jocks and popular kids and ends up shining on the basketball team.

Throughout the ups and downs (mostly downs), Junior keeps a positive attitude, only stumbling once or twice during really hard times. The fact that all of these things are going on and he is still able to get up every morning knowing that he probably won't eat breakfast, will probably walk to school, and will ,for the most part, be ignored by everyone at the white school is astonishing and inspirational.

It's a gritty look at real life on the rez. Poverty, alcoholism and death are everywhere. Junior has gone to 42 funerals by the time he's 13. (I've been to 3). And while this story could be depressing, it's anything but.

  Everyone should read this book. It's a fast read (read it in 1 1/2 days) but it sticks with you like few novels do. It's sad and laugh out loud funny, and the pages are peppered with great cartoon drawings. Junior calls life a "series of broken dams and floods" and his drawings are "tiny little life boats."

 It's awesome and inspiring, and you will walk away with a belief that whatever problems you have can be overcome with courage and perseverance... and ultimately you can triumph over adversity.

Alyssa heard Alexie speak (and he still has the lisp, explaining that it's not because of a speech impediment, "I'm just brain damaged") and she was so impressed by his honesty and humor that she bought the book. I'm glad she did. 

So I found this kind of by accident. It isn't something I would have picked up on my own, but it will remain one of my all time favorites. I recommend this book as a must read!

Sherman Alexie WEBSITE
Open to where ever Book Depository Ships
Fill out the form below
Deadline Oct 3, 2010


Natalie said...

One of my English teachers is a HUGE fan of this book, and we've read a few of Sherman Alexie's short stories in some of my classes. I haven't read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, but it's on my to-read list!

P.S. Thanks so much for the support, guys! You have no idea how much I appreciate it! :D

P.P.S. I already told your sister this, but JAKE?!?! I can't BELIEVE you got your STOMACH signed at the Smart Chicks Kick It tour. How are you ever supposed to take a shower now? Well, I guess you can rush him to a tattoo parlor and get them inked in place. THAT would be a conversation starter! Lol!

Liz @ Cleverly Inked said...

Uh seriously the giving tree??

Blodeuedd said...

Webster's, webster's! *shakes head in disbelief*

Rachel said...

I'm loving all these banned book posts. It's all awesome support! This is actually one of the few of them I haven't read! I like the review though, sounds good!

Kulsuma said...

cannot believe hp was banned

Black Disaster Fairy said...

I'm Native American, not Alexie's tribe. I also live on the Reservation, again not the same one. However, many of the stories in his book ring true. Great Giveaway!

Black Disaster Fairy

debbie said...

My favorite, among many, is the giving tree. I can't believe someone could find anything wrong with that wonderful book. I would like to read several that are on the list, but I haven't decided which ones yet.

Orchid said...

Awesome review, I had no idea that this book was banned. ^_^

PeechieKeen said...

Yay for fighting against banned books!
But people can be so ridicoulous... get out of the house more! lol

Kai Agito said...

Woah, there's a whole wall of banned books there O_O we don't have that here.

I have Twenty Boy Summer but I haven't gotten around reading it. I will do so now so I can find out what's up with banning it when it looks like a perfectly good book.

Ani said...

Amazing post. I love it ♥
Anita M.

xlacrimax said...

I didn't even know such things existed as banned books until this week! Harry is banned too? Really? God, I don't understand people who are trying to rule even others' reading lists.

FairyWhispers said...

this is interesting...

Kelly aka yllektra(I Work For Books) said...

Wow, that's crazy!
In Greece I don't think we have any banned books... But I guess, Greek authors are more conventional that way and we don't have many scandalous books! lol

Alessandra said...

It serious eludes me why anyone would think of banning a *dictionary*. I mean... a dictionary? That's what you use to find out what a word means, people. Surely nothing to ban there?!

I plan to re-read Speak, which is a powerful book. Read it. It's simply ridiculous to consider rape scenes pornographic. It's like telling rape victims that their horrrible memories are porn.

Laura said...

So far your post with the pictures has been the most shocking! Thanks for that. I've posted a blog on my feelings on the banned books movement here:

Gilliene said...

Yay for people who support "banned" books! I really don't see why these amazing books should be banned!

andrea b said...

I've known about banned books week for some years now and every year I'm astounded that people still try to decide what other people's children shoud read...
thanks for the giveaway and for supporting BBW !

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the list of banned or challenged books contains many of the best books that make you THINK. Heaven forbid that should ever happen.

hendy said...

Thanks you for standing up against censorship and standing up for the themes that books represent. The great thing about books is you get to choose to read it or not and imagine what this world would be like without these "controversial book" There was a time that books about interacial marriage or female infidelity would have been banned. Thanks
hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I haven't read this book, but would love too!

Look at all the books on the shelves though! I'd read them all just because of the banned sign. Oh yeh, what a rebel :p

Shari Green said...

Thanks for supporting freedom to read! :)

buddyt said...

While I agree totally that banning books is the action of a cretin, I worry that by giving so much time and blg posts to Scroggins we are only doing what he wants ! Namely giving him publicity and inadvertantly helping him spread his childish views.

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Lisa Thumma said...

I hate hearing about people banning books and most of them I can't even figure out why anyone would have an issue with them. I mean, The Giver? Bridge to Teribithia? What is wrong with those?

Unknown said...

I still can't believe that "To Kill A Mockingbird" is a banned book. Or Harry Potter! And Speak, my god, that's so ridiculous. People are ridiculous.

Badass Bookie said...

I think it's really diappointing that people are banning these greta book because it only discourages people reading novels that are unique and have meaning and purplose behind it all.

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