Noted YA author Ellen Hopkins is invited to attend the 2011 Teen Lit Conference in Humble, Texas, and graciously accepts. A middle school librarian gets a bee in her bonnet about Ellen's presence, deems it "inappropriate," and some parents get involved. They take the matter to the school superintendent, Guy Sconzo, and Ellen Hopkins is rudely, crudely uninvited. Once again proof that a few people can ruin a great thing for everyone.
I've had the pleasure of hearing Ellen Hopkins speak on numerous occasions, and she RAILS against drug abuse. WIth passion she speaks of the tragedy drugs have brought to her own family, so generously sharing her heartbreak in the hope that she can keep other kids from going down that self destructive path. Her books about the devastation that methamphetamine use brings to a human life are probably the greatest drug deterrent I can think of. But goodness gracious, let's prevent kids from reading them!
Because kids are so much better off NOT knowing about the negative influence of drugs! It's best if kids get their information on the street, from their peers, about the effects of meth, crack, pot and the like! In fact, let's get rid of all books for kids that deal with sex and drugs! Let's pretend these things don't exist and let kids find out about them on their own through trial and error while reading wholesome novels about puppies. Good plan folks.
To show support for Ellen Hopkins and to protest censorship the following authors have pulled out of the festival: Pete Hautman, Melissa De La Cruz, Matt De La Pena, and Tera Lynn Childs, and probably more will follow. I applaud Ms. Hopkins for bringing this issue forward instead of going quietly into the night. She's standing up for herself, for literature, and for kids, and we should all stand with her.