As a YALSA Intellectual Freedom Committee member, I have my choice of a smorgasbord of Intellectual Freedom meetings and activities to attend at Conference. However by far, the best part of my trip to Midwinter was attending the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Fourth Annual Author Event featuring Lauren Myracle.
Lauren specifically addressed the banning and challenging of her books. She spoke about how she could empathize with parents who find her books objectionable. Because the world is truly a scary place, protecting your children is a priority. Lauren stressed that she believes firmly in a parent’s right to choose what is book is right for their family, while allowing every other family to make this decision on their own. This understanding approach has helped her when she responds to the hate mail she receives at least once per day. Lauren read aloud some of the angry emails from parents. They called books like Eleven and TTYL “disgusting, filthy, and awful,” and one parent even referred to Lauren as “Satan.”
TTYL was on the list of Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2007, and has recently been banned at the Round Rock Independent School District near Austin, Texas. After the parent of a middle schooler objected to the book, the superintendent removed all copies of the book in the school district. It was removed in spite of that fact that two committees reviewed the book and found it suitable for the library.
You can send Lauren Myracle a little email of support or encouragment, or you might ask your Teen Advisory Group to do so. She promises to write back!
If you haven’t already, join the Freedom to Read Foundation. Your $35 membership fee will go directly toward fighting the good First Amendment fight in courtrooms all over America.
Intellectual Freedom Committee