Thursday, June 25, 2009

Amen, Sister Anderson!

Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the young adult novel "Speak"

These are scary days in which to raise teenagers. I know. I have four of them. Part of the problem is that we have a generation that has been exposed to unprecedented amounts of sexual behavior in the media and on the Internet. They see it, they talk about it, their hormones react, and a lot of kids wind up in painful situations.

Literature is a safe and traditional vehicle through which we learn about the world and pass on values from one generation to the next. Books save lives.

Contemporary young adult literature surprises some people, because it is an accurate reflection of the way today's teenagers talk, think, and behave. But these books must be honest in order to connect to the teen reader. America's teens are desperate for responsible, trustworthy adults to create situations in which they can discuss the issues that are of the highest concern for them. Reading and discussing books is one of the most effective ways to get teens to think through and learn about the challenges of adolescents.

Most of the censorship I see is fear-driven. I respect that. The world is a very scary place. It is a terrifying place in which to raise children, and in particular, teenagers. It is human nature to nurture and protect children as they grow into adulthood. But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in darkness and makes them vulnerable.

Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them. They need us to be brave enough to give them great books so they can learn how to grow up into the men and women we want them to be.

1 comment:

Jaggers Brain said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE that quote!