Welcome to December! We woke up to a snow-covered forest and it is still coming down!
The Lexington Herald-Leader wrote an article about the book banning in Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling, KY, where the superintendent appears to be breaking district policy by refusing to return the books (Twisted, Deadline by Chris Crutcher, Lessons from a Dead Girl by Jo Knowles, The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds, What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones, What My Girlfriend Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones, and Unwind, by Neal Shusterman) to the classroom after the books were approved by the district’s Review Committee.
The superintendent says that he does not believe these books belong in the classroom.
(From the article) "I wrote the teachers over a month ago and said, ‘show me why the books should be in the curriculum and we’ll reconsider that decision,"’ he said. "I’m certainly not the world’s final authority on what ought to be in a college curriculum. But so far I haven’t heard a word from anybody about why we should use these books."
That’s not exactly true. I have a copy of a five-page letter written to Dr. Freeman by one of the top experts in the field about the use of contemporary literature in high school classrooms. The letter explains exactly why those books have a place in his classrooms, citing state standards, research that validates their use, and the district’s own vision statement.
What do you think? Share your opinions with Dr. Freeman (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on the newspaper’s website, in the Comments that accompany the article. Remember: it is possible to have strong opinions and be polite at the same time.
Congrats on everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo last month. Even if you didn’t hit the 50,000 word mark, you wrote something which is way better than nothing. I’m deep in revisions for my next novel, so I’ll be posting my own revision tips this month for any of you guys who are interested.
Revision Tip #1
When you finish a first draft, don’t look at it for at least a week. Clean up your desk and catch up on your reading. Do some journaling about what you thought the story was at the beginning of the the draft and how it changed when you were writing. Make a list of those pesky little thoughts that are bugging you about places where your characters might not be consistent, or major plot issues. Do this without rereading your pages! Trust me on this one.
PS – A couple of you wondered what was on the back of the shirts we wore for the Turkey Trot 5K. It was a list of all of our names and the tag line, "The family that runs together eats more pie!"