Ellen Hopkins, author of numerous Young Adult titles as well as most recently, the Banned Books Week Manifesto is being censored in Norman, Oklahoma. Hopkins was scheduled to speak at Whittier Middle School on September 22nd about her experiences as an author writing about real life issues facing youth today. However, her talk was reportedly cancelled by the district’s superintendent one day after he received a complaint from a parent. The parent also filed a formal challenge against Hopkins’ book, Glass, which features a strong anti-drug message, calling for its removal from the school’s library. Glass will be reviewed according to district policy.
The Kids’ Right to Read Project recently interviewed Ellen Hopkins about the creative process behind the Banned Books Week Manifesto as well as about experiences with censors over the years. A fabulous reading of the Manifesto can be found here.
There are many effective ways to respond to censorship challenges. In the past individuals and groups who support free speech have raised awareness about specific incidents and overarching trends through social network groups and causes, including Facebook and Twitter. Individuals have created petitions, organized marches and held ‘read-ins’ of banned materials at local public libraries.