Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Oprah: Speak out for SPEAK

Cover of "Speak"Cover of Speak
Dear Oprah,

I am writing to you again in the hopes that you will do something on your show to highlight BANNED BOOKS WEEK, next week starting September 25th.

This is a week that "librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society."

Laurie Halse Anderson would make a wonderful guest. Her groundbreaking novel, SPEAK, has just been attacked by a professor in Missouri, calling it "soft pornography" because of two rape scenes. Anderson handles this issue with such heartbreaking sensitivity that I find the accusation absolutely ludicrous. The whole point of SPEAK is to encourage people to speak out when the "unspeakable" happens. Because it does happen.

What would happen if we didn't have books that explored and tackled the tough issues teens and kids face? What kind of world would we live in if we didn't have the freedom to read and make choices?

I thought that this book and topic might interest you in particular because of your open-ness and struggles with sexual abuse - losing your voice and then finding it.

Thank you for considering this.

Yours truly,

Léna Roy
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  1. Because when I read a rape scene, my first thought is "this is porn." This makes me seriously wonder about the inner workings of that professor's mind. Perhaps he needs to see the help of a therapist to work this out?

    And you know what? No matter how he feels, it's called "free speech", which you'd think is a pretty easy idea to understand. Last time I checked it wasn't, "free speech as long as some yahoo in Missouri agrees with the content."

    Young girls have to deal with rape--the concept and, unfortunately for some, the reality. Why take away a book that shows them that they are not wrong, that they aren't alone? I'm going to take a shot in the dark and guess that the professor is an older man? Someone who doesn't have to see this as a reality? Would he feel the same way if the book was about the rape of a professor from Missouri? Sometimes, I wonder...

  2. Lish - we make a good anti-censorship team. What do you think, Oprah? Lish is coming out with her debut October 12th with "Hold Me Closer Necromancer", while my book, "EDGES", will be published December 7th. We'd show you a good ol' time!

  3. Laurie Halse Anderson is one of my favorite writers and Speak is such an amazing, literary book. There is even a whole YA line by her publisher called Speak!

    I am VERY conservative--my husband has even called me a prude--but there is nothing in Speak that I consider offensive. And I have quit reading a different book because of rape scenes. I think that goes to show that it is done tactfully, and with as few details as possible--focusing on the emotional pain rather than the physical act itself.

    We are free to choose what to read and what not to, as well as when to quit something that doesn't mesh with our personal belief system.

    As a conservative, religious mother (who even started homeschooling), my children will read Speak when they are old enough to gain from the characters' experiences. Having two older sisters myself, I know first hand that learning from others misfortunes and mistakes saves yourself a lot of heartache.

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  6. It began Friday night, shortly after the world learned of the time Donald Trump bragged about forcing himself on women and grabbing them by the "pussy."
    have a peek at this web-siteHe would later apologize and brush it off as "locker room talk." Many, including author and social media star Kelly Oxford, saw it for what it was: sexual assault.


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