As a reader and an author, I am in total support of Banned Book Week. I'm proud of the Buzz Girls for bringing this topic to the forefront for our readers and I hope you agree with us. Banning books and censorship are just NOT cool.
We've all seen the list of banned books over the years...a list that contains one classic after the next. Well, I just read this news article on Yahoo.com with ten (10) banned books that will really surprise you!
I'm horrified to see not just one, but two dictionaries included on the list. All because they define words that some find offensive. You know what? Don't look those words up! And to see Lord of the Rings considered as "Satanic?" Did they read the same book I did in middle school? And good old Harry Potter...not just one of the books is banned, but the whole series. An entire series! They say it's "Satanic" and "occultist" and...get this..."anti-family." Are you kidding me? After losing his real family, Harry finds solace and comfort in his Hogwart's family. It's anything BUT anti-family. And the last one that knocked me off my seat is Grimm's Fairy Tales. In particular...Red Riding Hood. Why? Because she had a bottle of wine in the basket for her grandmother. Honestly people!
Which brings me to censorship. A topic very near and dear to my heart. I'm totally against it. Big time! I'll let this e-mail exchange that I had with a librarian recently explain my views exactly:
Subject: A wish....
Comment: Dear Marley: I saw you on TV on "My Ghost Story" and when I heard you write teen ghost hunting novels I went straight and looked you up. I am an elementary school librarian and my kids love supernatural reading. I was soarly [sic] disappointed to see that I had already checked out your book to purchase and then realized you had so much fowl [sic] language. I have never written to anyone before, I am not a stodgy person, but I am so tired of books that I think would be great for my kids, being filled with language that I don't want encouraged. I go through all these books (because I like the topic too) and then I have to mark out bad words just so my kids can still read the book. I know 12-14 year olds are not angels... not by a long shot... but I don't want to encourage this behavior until they are old enough to REALLY know what is right or wrong. Is it so hard to write a book that I don't have to sit with a marker in my hand just so my kids can have a good supernatural book to read? Sorry for the venting... I would so like to get your books for my kids, I know they would love them... I just wish you had not gone down the language, etc. path.
And my response to her...not attacking her horrid misspellings...
Hi NAME WITHHELD...
I appreciate the time you took to write to me voicing your concerns.
I am, however, appalled to think that you go through books—by any author—with a marker to “mark out bad words” and "language that [you] do not want encouraged." I’m sure your intentions are good, but the reality is that you are censoring books, a practice that most Americans would agree is horrific at best, and one we rightly vilify as a society.
My books are not geared for elementary school-aged children. They are written for "young adults," kids older than 12 (they’re clearly marked as such), and I write them in common vernacular to better connect and identify with my teen audience. I have never had a teacher, librarian, parent, or student object to the language in my books - nor mark out words before letting others read it.
As a librarian, I assume it is your responsibility to select which books are included in the SCHOOL WITHHELD Elementary library. If you choose not to include mine, I understand. I’ll just hope that the kids who would enjoy them find them from another source. I am curious to know if the school administration, WITHHELD County School Board, or the PTA condone your practice of editing the books that you *do* choose to put in the library?
It is my sincere hope you will reconsider your censorship practices. I realize I'm in good company with the likes of Judy Blume, Lois, Lowry, Steven King, J.D. Salinger, and others, but it still doesn't make it right in my opinion. As an author, I will do everything in my power to see that censorship is stopped, wherever and whenever I become aware of it.
Now, I shared this with a PR friend of mine who told a friend of hers at The Washington Post about it and she wanted to do a story on it. She contacted the librarian and didn't get a response. She then contacted the school and was told, "She will not be marking out any passages in books anymore."
Well...score one victory against censorship.
Pick up a "banned" book this week and see what you think. And if you feel so inclined, read the GHOST HUNTRESS books and judge them for yourself.
What do you think? Should librarians (whom I love!) be able to mark out passages of books they personally feel are inappropriate? Would you speak up at your local school or library if you ran across such markings in a book?
Thanks for your support!
Marley = )
Get spooked this Halloween!
GHOST HUNTRESS: THE COUNSELING - available now!