One thing to wonder about, as we think about censorship, is what the authors think. Not just any authors, but the authors of books that have been challenged or banned (or burned for that matter). Luckily, due to the internet, we have that opportunity.
John Green, author of Looking for Alaska, responds to a challenge that his book contains pornography:
J. K. Rowling defends her works, the Harry Potter series, by saying,
“I really hate censorship. I find it objectionable. I personally think that they’re very mistaken. I think these are very moral books and I think it’s a very short-sighted thing. Short-sighted in the sense that if you try hard to portray goodness without showing that the reverse is evil and without showing how great it is to resist that . . . well, that’s always been my feeling about literature.
“You find magic, witchcraft and wizardry in all sorts of classic children’s books. Where do you start? Are you going to start with ‘The Wizard of Oz?’ These people are trying to protect children from their own imagination.”
Maureen Johnson, whose book, The Bermudez Triangle has been banned and challenged several times due to “homosexuality” speaks out against people challenging her book, especially the people who claim they are not banners,
“This “we aren’t banners, we just think those are adult themes and therefore the books must be labeled/moved to the adult section/require permission to take out” nonsense . . . why, exactly? What is particularly adult about being gay? There are gay kids, gay teens. They have to go on awkward first dates, like all the wrong people, obsess over their crushes, have their hearts broken, fall in love with friends, get permission from their parents to go out, try to borrow the car . . . There are loads of YA books about those things featuring heterosexual characters, and no one bats an eye. Why is it so adult if gay kids are doing it?
It’s not. It’s the same thing. Gay kids need to see their lives reflected in stories. And straight kids want to read these stories as well! Gay characters can’t be relegated to some dark corner of the shelf that you need a map to find and an ID to check out. To do so is basically saying to the gay kids, “There’s something dirty about you.” Anyone who would say that is the true filthmonger. Period.”
There are millions more, if you look for them. Things like: Judy Blume’s defense of J. K. Rowling: http://www.ncac.org/censorship_new/20030305~cn076~Is_Harry_Potter_Evil_by_Judy_Blume.cfm or Ellen Hopkins speaking out against her very presence being censored at a book festival: http://ellenhopkins.livejournal.com/11666.html.
Censorship is hard to take, but we’re lucky enough to be in a time where it can be responded to quickly, especially by such elegant wordsmiths.
If you want to see some great Banned Books Week articles, check out: The First Amendment First Aid Kit, The 11 Most Surprising Banned Books, I Love Libraries, wawoodworth’s video, and 10 Ways to Celebrate Banned Books Week!