Banned Books Week: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Banned Book: Hold Still by Nina LaCour

Where/Why It’s Been Banned: “The Blue Springs (Mo.) School District has removed Nina LaCour’s young adult novel Hold Still from its library and classrooms in response to parental complaints about its language and sex scenes.”  (Source–Quote taken from an American Libraries article.)

My Thoughts: When this story first came to light last November I was shocked.  At the time there was a video news report available (which I can’t find now…) interviewing the parents and the pastor involved with censoring Hold Still.  The part that upsets me the most is that a pastor was brought into the mix.  There is this whole separation of church and state thing, right?

Anyway, I agree that parents have a right to say what is right or wrong for their child, so kudos to them for being involved.  Going to the school and requesting that the book is removed and made unavailable to ALL students is not their right.

Hold Still is a beautiful book dealing with a heavy topic.  No one wants to lose their best friend, so can you imagine losing your best friend to suicide and not knowing why?  Caitlin is devastated by the loss of her best friend, Ingrid, and is barely hanging on.  She ends up finding a journal Ingrid wrote for Caitlin to find which sheds light on Ingrid’s dark world.  Hold Still takes us on Caitlin’s journey to finding hope and light and new friendship in the midst of her best friend’s suicide.  It’s one of the most popular books in my classroom because the (typically) girls who read it empathize and connect with the characters.

If you’re a teacher or librarian, I urge you to read Nina LaCour’s debut and make your own decision.  I have two copies in my room and both are nearing the point of replacement because they’ve been read so much.  Our students know when and how to self-censor, so we really need to trust their choices.  If you’re a parent, I urge you to read this book with your son or daughter so you can have an open and honest discussion about it.

Sarah @ GreenBeanTeenQueen wrote an excellent post about this when it first came to light.  Read why she supports Hold Still.

Student Response: Felicia, one of my current YA Lit students and one of my former freshmen students, read Hold Still last year.  I knew she enjoyed Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, so I suggested this as her first SSR book.  I remember her telling me she didn’t know if she liked it, so I suggested trying to stick with it for 50 or so pages before she abandoned it.  She ended up loving it and became a voracious reader last year.

Hold Still should not be a banned book.  This book is very real and tells a story that could really happen in your high school years.  This book just tells a story of your typical high school girl who commits suicide.  This is a very good book and shouldn’t be banned.”

Comments

  1. Allison R says:

    I am a high school librarian in MO and I was shocked when I heard that a parent in Blue Springs, MO who was upset with their freshmen daughter reading Hold Still. As Sarah writes about on her blog, Hold Still was on the Gateway Readers Awards final list (the books that make the final list are voted on and read by librarians, students and teachers across the state).

    I didn’t even hear about this until I received an email from our state school library association. It was a big deal and then after about a month or two of not hearing what the final decision was made in the district, I did some research of my own and I found this article online.
    http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/censorship-watch/hold-still-pulled-after-big-misunderstanding
    Go figure…

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