Once again, censorship reared its ugly head this week. This time it is directed at an author and her books. Ellen Hopkins, author of many popular YA books dealing with controversial yet realistic teen issues, was invited to be a part of the Humble Teen Lit Fest this year along with several other authors. Then thanks to the work of a middle school librarian, a few parents and the superintendent of the Humble Independent School District, Ellen was "uninvited". Since then, the Teen Lit Fest has lost several other authors, who have pulled out in protest and solidarity over what can only be described as blatant censorship.
So here is my two cents: first and foremost, censorship in any form is indefensible. As an educator, I am disappointed at the actions of the librarian who set this censorship monster loose. I am also aghast that a superintendent, without ever reading one of Hopkins books, caved in to the demands of a small group of small-minded parents. I would have hoped that he would have acknowledged their rights to keep their children home from the event instead of acting on their demands and ruining the chance for the majority of his students to meet and hear Ellen speak.
While I support all the author’s who have spoken out against Hopkin’s “univite”, I am sad that so many of the Humble students, who are the real losers here, will be unable to meet and interact with their favorite authors. Those authors who are still attending will hopefully use this event to strongly voice their opinion of the insidious nature of censorship in any and all forms. I also hope that the educators in the Humble Independent School District will find a teachable moment to discuss why censorship is so contemptuous.
I strongly urge you to read the various posts by checking out a collection of links on Book Shelves of Doom.