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.

Holly Anderton
Intellectual Freedom Committee

About Intellectual Freedom Committee

The intellectual freedom committee serves as a liaison between the YALSA and the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee and all other groups within the Association concerned with intellectual freedom.

2 Thoughts on “Lauren Myracle and Intellectual Freedom at Midwinter

  1. I find the whole brouhaha rather silly (of course I am one of those irritating open-minded librarians that wears an “I read banned books” button all day). I love Lauren’s writing, and I know my kids do too. She’s on their level and what she writes about really appeals to the common teenager. Kissing Kate was one of my favorite books when it came out, and TTYL, TTFN, and l8r, g8r are simply never checked in at my branch. I do deal with the conservative parents (in fact, a colleague of mine refused her daughter TTYL, referring to it quite directly as “trash”, I had a little internal snicker) and I understand that her writing may offend some of their values. But all that means is *you* don’t let *you’re child* read it. You don’t try to get it removed! Your sensibilities and those of others are not the same (I have no teenager, but when I do they will be wholeheartedly encouraged to read Myracles works!) and it is no parent’s place to impose their morality on the world.

    My bottom line is this- short of containing blatant false information (how sad that these books make it to print!) or blatant offensive material with a total lack of value in any subject or field, no book should be banned. You may not purchase some of the edgier items for your collection (we all have to limit one way or another!) but you should consider them all.

  2. Ken Petrilli on January 31, 2009 at 10:18 am said:

    I’ll second everything Holly said – this was a terriffic event (held, btw, at The Tattered Cover Bookstore, themselves stalwarts in the fight against censorship)! I really loved the fact that Lauren chooses not to blindly demonize those who would look to censor her; I think we sometimes forget that they are people, too, and are often simply scared that their children are, well, not little children anymore.

    Plus, I got a high-five from Lauren when she was signing my books, which made my month!!!!

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