For the challenge we are to go to the ALA site and in honor of Banned Books Week, pick a book we have read, and talk about it. So I did that - I chose the ones by decade and chose this past decade and came up with several I have read, but found the one I wanted to talk about.
By the way - I absolutely love that logo and the sentiment. With all the craziness going on about Speak right now, I think we need to remember that we each know how to think and make our choices and we don't need others to make them for us! My thoughts on Speak are this - I haven't read it - but I will make a point to read it and form my own opinions, I have read some of Laurie Halse-Anderson's other books and loved them and expect to do the same with Speak. I hope others will do the same and form their own opinions as well.
On to my choice:
Pick a book - any book - it's the Gossip Girl series. I will quickly admit that this series is one of my guilty pleasures. I will admit I am definitely not in the target age group for this series but I love it. I have never been to New York, did not grow up rich, did not party like this crowd or cut class or drink as much, but I love the series.
Do I understand why it is on the ALA list? Sure - the books are full of drinking, drug use, sex and general habits we don't want our teenagers (thinking as a parent) to have. Do I want it banned. No way - I believe in freedom of speech and expression and don't believe these books hurt anyone. I think most teenagers will get how over-the-top this crowd is. It's just meant for a pleasure reading, what I call brain candy. It's definitely not "soft porn" either, since those seem to be the words for the day with the young adult books. The sex happens, but there are no real details. Does this make it morally right - no, but it's called Gossip Girl and the back blurbs make it obvious what goes on in the books, there are no surprises when you read them.
I believe all parents should be involved in what their kids read and should be aware of the content. Do I think they should censor everything. No - I actually think books like these make great jumping off places for conversations with kids. What is wrong about what the kids do in this book? What makes the kids like everyday kids even though they are rich and live a different lifestyle? These make great conversation starters with teenagers. And finally it just goes back to the fact that this is fiction - it's not telling kids how to act - it's there for enjoyment. The shows on tv are much worse than this book and most adults don't censor those, so why censor the books - at least the kids are reading and that is what I think is most important. Reading gets you thinking and thinking is a great thing to do.
Have you read any of the Gossip Girl books? Do you think they should be banned?
My Gossip Girl book reviews (I have read all but the prequel in this series but somehow fell behind on the reviews):