Tomorrow is the first day of Banned Books Week. In the past week, there has been a challenge to one of Laurie Halse Anderson’s books. A man in Springfield, Missouri, believes that the depictions of rape in Speak constitute soft-core pornography. I have read Speak, and it is an incredibly moving book, one that I have encouraged students to read.
Though I hate everything about book banning, what particularly bothers me is the idea that the experiences of someone who has been raped could possibly, in any way, constitute soft-core porn. This is a book about a victim finding her voice. In fact, this book has given voice to many victims, as Laurie Halse Anderson shows here in a poem she wrote based on the letters she has gotten about Speak.
Please celebrate Banned Books Week this week by reading something that has been banned or challenged. Celebrate books that push us and upset us and give voice to people with different experiences, good and bad. If you haven’t read Speak, now would be a great time. If you are local, I will be happy to lend you my copy. (Mike and I are also partial to To Kill a Mockingbird. In case you haven’t noticed.)