Monday, September 21, 2009

Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson

A post today on the blog of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) calls attention to a challenge against Laurie Halse Anderson's moving and award-winning young-adult novel, Speak. The book deals with the very difficult subject of rape, and is used in high school and middle school classrooms around the US as a focus for the discussion of physical and emotional harassment, the effect of keeping secrets, fitting in to high school cliques, and the like (lesson plans can easily be found on the web).

At least one parent in Temecula, California, objected to the classroom use of the book. Click here to see a copy of the letter by the NCAC and others defending it from that challenge.

Rather than make a logical or legal argument about this, I think it would be best to let the author make her own very moving appeal. The YouTube video below describes the reader reactions received by the author, and it might convince you of the real need for this kind of literature for and among teenagers. Have tissues ready.

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