Friday, September 20, 2013

Poetry Friday, and Sonya Sones, and Banned Books Week, Oh My!

I came home last night to an awesome, white package nestled between my front door and screen door. I'm always excited when packages come and especially when they look bookish, but this one looked a little extra special. Rushing to fit my keys into the lock, I swung open the door and dumped down everything I was carrying, grabbing the package and tearing it open. Inside I found two posters to celebrate Banned Books Week from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and a copy of Ellen Hopkins' book, Smoke and Sonya Sones' book, To Be Perfectly Honest.

Both of these amazing woman are authors who I admire. I was fortunate enough to meet Sonya Sones at NCTE last year and she's lovely. That's the exactly perfect word for her if you ask me: lovely. Just look at this woman, how can someone ban her books?
But her books have been banned. Along with many other authors published by Simon and Schuster, like Ellen Hopkins, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Lisa McMann, Judy Blume, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can find Simon and Schuster's complete list of banned book here. Obviously, other books by other publishers have been banned as well. To see a list of frequently challenged book, click here.
The ALA store has lots of materials to spread the word about Banned Book Week.  For a chance to win the Simon and Schuster Banned Books Week poster, you can click here. The poster features quotes from Ellen Hopkins, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Sonya Sones. Here is a sneak peak and my mini-addition to Poetry Friday this week:

Three Questions, One Answer

"If you didn't want you kids to eat
would you forbid
all their friends to eat it too?

If you didn't want your kids to stay up late,
would you forbid all their friends to stay up late too?

If you didn't
want your kids to read
would you forbid all their friends to read it too?"

-Sonya Sones
author of To Be Perfectly Honest

I love analogies to help make connections between things. In this case, Sonya has found three analogies that ask people to think about what they are doing or saying or modeling when they want to ban or challenge a book.

Earlier this week, I had a total mom moment. My husband served a veggie with dinner featuring broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I called the kids over to fill up their plates and Peanut, my six-year-old, peeked into the pans and said he didn't want to eat it and asked why he had to. Here was the mom moment, I totally almost said, "Because I said so." BUT, I stopped myself, and then I had another mom moment. Here's mom moment round two, I actually did say, "Someday, when you are older, you are going to be happy we asked you to eat veggies because they are good for you, they make you strong, they help your muscles and your bones..." and I might have gone on and one until I realized what was actually coming out of my mouth. It's so the truth though! There are some things that we encourage our kids to do because we know it's good for them. I would be a negligent parent if he never ate veggies in his life.

Now, if someone else's mom chooses to let their kids make different decisions about what they eat, that's up to them. It makes me sad to think there are kiddos in the world who don't get to eat veggies or who's parents don't talk to them about why they should eat veggies. I'm always happy to share my story of being vegan, games we play to help our kids eat veggies or the fact that lots of times, we'll put veggies or fruits out as we're making dinner for our kids to snack on. Usually, they are hungry and will eat the fruits and veggies. I'm so happy to share what we do with other parents...but I do my best to keep my biases to myself and to not impede on anyone else's decisions about how they raise their children.

And isn't this also what Sonya is saying? It's fine if parents wants to talk to his or her child about a book and explain to him or her why they don't think it's appropriate for him or her, that's one thing. But sharing their views about books and trying to challenge or ban them from school or public libraries is a totally different story. I hope you help me in celebrating Banned Books Week next week!

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