Book Club (2)

Censorship in Texas

I’ve posted a couple times about the craziness in Humble, Texas regarding Ellen Hopkins being “disinvited” to the Teen Lit Fest.  But after talking to a few of my grads, I’d like to have a book club discussion about this.  I know many of us have read and love her books, so I’d like to know what you think of this.  A few authors have taken a stand against this act of censorship by backing out of the TLF, while Laurie Halse Anderson and Todd Strasser have said they should stay so they can discuss censorship with the teens that come. 

So YAers, what do YOU think?  After reading (or hearing about) Ellen Hopkins’ books, do you think she should have been censored?  Why or why not?  Do you think the authors should stand by her and not show up (causing more publicity and discussion) or should they show up to the festival and talk this out with the teens attending?  Which do you prefer? 

Please weigh in on this; I along with everyone else want your opinions!!  Also, please check out Ellen and Laurie’s LiveJournals so you can read their posts about this (the links are in my sidebar). 

I can’t wait to hear from you 😀


  1. I support Ellen!

  2. Zach "Hottness" Hatfield says:

    I think they should not attend this conference in her support. Schools just need to stop being so damn politically correct and start letting young adults look into the real world of books and explore as many books as possible. In the end, your just making it a couple less books these kids are going to get to read, therefore not reaching their full capability.
    I would also like to point out Mrs. Andersens typo, you said “way in” instead of “weight in”. Just gonna throw that out their. 🙂

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Thank you for pointing out my typo, Zach! I hate it when I do that…

      Anyway, I like your comment about this. I’m torn on how this should be handled because I can see the benefit of both sides. However, I’m surprised the superintendent hasn’t realized how much he’s actually promoting her books by asking her not to come.

    • I’d like to point out you typo, Zach. You said their instead of there lol

      • Many people would say that there is no such thing as bad publicity lol Yes, censorship is wrong, but no matter how they handle it (by letting her come or not), they can never actually STOP kids from reading her books. As we all know, when kids are told they can’t do something, it only makes them want to do it more, and it will be all the more enjoyable when they find a way 😀

        • Mrs. Andersen says:

          Good post, Ellie! You’re right the students of Humble will find a way to read her books no matter what anyone says. And they should!

      • Mrs. Andersen says:

        Haha it was the night for typos!!

  3. First, I do not think she should have been censored, but the thing is, I’m a librarian (and yes, I enjoy her books). There are a few books I don’t like but there is no way I can stop you from reading that book, no matter what your age. I can guide you but you know what you can handle. Lastly, as a librarian, I promote the freedom to read.

    I can also see both sides of this issue, but I find that what happened is pretty much exactly what I think should have happened. If I remember rightly, Ellen Hopkins did not ask the other authors to really do anything. The authors who did decide not to attend chose not to attend because they felt that was what they needed to do. Other authors, such as Todd Strasser, who chose to attend, but change the speech from whatever topic to a discussion on censorship are doing what they feel they need to do. Each author involved in this discussion is finding his/her own way to weigh in and comment on this issue and in turn bringing more light to this issue than there had been before.

    I applaud all the authors who have weighed in from not attending, to attending to discuss censorship, to blogging about it and spreading the word. We would not have these discussions if this did not happen and we need to continue having these discussions so that teens can read what they need to read. Overall, I agree with what has occurred. 🙂

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      Thank you for such a wonderful comment! I discuss censorship with my students pretty often, especially in my Y.A. Lit class because I have a trimester project that is based on reading censored books. Ellen Hopkin’s books are usually a popular choice.

      I think you’re right about the authors choosing whatever is right for them. I’m sure we’d be having this discussion if none of them backed out, but I don’t know if the discussion would be so widespread. I just hope that all of the students that attend TLF learn something important about censorship.

  4. If I was an author going to that. I wouldn’t go in support of Ellen. I also think that it’s dumb that the parents are practically blocking a Y.A. novel. I’m pretty positive their kids could be doing worse things than reading a simple book.

  5. Ok, due to my internet deciding to quit the second I tried to leave a reply, my response is a little late. This whole censorship thing reminds me of a great movie. In Footloose, the town tries to take away all things that could possibly influence children to do bad things. If I have learned anything from that movie at all, it would be that censorship doesn’t work. Like it was said earlier, as soon as you tell someone they can’t read a book, they will only be more determined to read it. In my opinion school and city censorship is a load of crap. I can understand if particular parents don’t want their children reading a certain book, however, if just one family in a school district is against a book, it doesn’t mean that everyone else has to be against it either.
    The Texas issue with Ellen Hopkins is a great example of what shouldn’t be done. There are many types of authors, themes, styles of writing, etc., and I may not like it all. Just because I may not like sci-fi at all, I shouldn’t request for all sci-fi books to be banned. In Ellen Hopkins’s case, all of her books deal with very real and serious issues, and just because a few naïve people don’t want to hear about what is happening in the world today, doesn’t mean that their opinion of her books should dictate who is and isn’t allowed to read them.

  6. They should not attend in support of her, censoring her book is only promoting it more and causing discussions about the controversy and censorship anyway and in the end it backfires on those trying to block the book. They need to just let young adults read what they want and not be so concerned about a book, its not like none of it is reality anyway, they see it in the world everyday, what is the difference in reading it in a novel,its better to read about it than experience it.

    • Mrs. Andersen says:

      That’s so true, Tiffany. It’s much better to read about the experience and learn from it that way than to experience it first hand.

  7. I cannot believe Ellen Hopkins would be disinvited to the Teen Lit Fest. It’s unnecessary as well as over the top. Hopkins’ books are realistic; they do not sugar coat what happens in real life. I, personally, have only read Crank, and although it seemed rather strange to me when I read it three/four years ago, I saw no reason for censorship then or now.
    The other authors should not attend in hopes that more attention would be drawn to the TLF. Obviously this is a serious issue that needs to be recognized. Especially in the society in which we live where political correctness is key to survival. The fear of offending other’s often silences the voices of reason and objectivity.
    Back on track now, if the other authors stand up for Hopkins and boycott the TLF, which they should, a lesson will be learned. The media will focus on the issue of censorship in other aspects of life as well, thereby educating teens on the subject. I would hope for this, at the very least.
    Having some authors discuss censoring literature may help, but it is most likely unnecessary because it will be discussed regardless.
    There’s my opinion on that.

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