Yesterday, my publisher decided to speak loudly about the MO banning attempt by taking out a full-page ad in the main section of the New York Times. My dad bought nearly every copy of the Times in Oswego County and cheerfully distributed them all day to friends, strangers, and everyone in between, pointing out this page:
Am I feeling totally supported, affirmed, appreciated, and loved right now? Yep! It is so exciting to see a publisher take such a strong stand supporting a book and its readers. Thank you, Uncle Penguin!
I still have not been able to discover the status of the three challenged books in Republic, MO. Have they officially been removed from the classroom? There are conflicting stories about this. When will the school board make a statement? Do you know?
Edited to add: I have written to Republic Superintendent Vern Minor asking for an update on the status of the books. He has not responded.
Students of the English Society at Missouri State University have spoken loudly. On Wednesday, the local TV station covered them writing quotes from banned books in chalk in front of the building where Wes Scroggins teaches.
Yesterday they read from Speak in front of his building, too. (photo credit: Gemma Bellhouse)
Thank you, good citizens of the English Society!
Missouri State officials told the local newspaper that Wes Scroggins, like all Americans, is entitled to his opinions and has the right to express them. The university told him, however, to stop using university resources, like his campus email account and office computer, for political candidates or positions.
The Guardian newspaper in England is covering Scroggins’ censorship attempt and highlighted the very moving blog post written by UK childrens’ author Lucy Coats, who, after 40 years of silence, spoke loudly about being sexually assaulted. And a French blogger spoke up about the whole mess. In French.
I have been spending hours every day reading blog posts and emails from Speak readers. I thank all of you for your support of the book, the First Amendment, and for telling your own stories about finding the courage to break the silence after being sexually assaulted. We are beginning to dissolve the shame and stigma that too many victims have traditionally felt. When victims speak loudly, the criminals who attacked them can no longer hide.
This has a lot to do with why I now love Mick Foley.
Yeah, this Mick Foley, The Hardcore Legend. Professional wrestler and wonderful author.
Why? First of all, he is a huge Tori Amos fan, just like me. (If I ever get to meet her, I will squee and fangrrl as badly as I do when I am in the same room as Judy Blume.) Through his connection to Tori, Mick became involved in RAINN (the Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network that she founded). He volunteers weekly for the RAINN hotline. In fact, he has joined RAINN’s National Leadership Council and taken on the fight against sexual violence. Mick donated half of his advance for his new book, COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN, to RAINN. The other half was donated to ChildFund International to set up microloans and scholarships for victims of rape and their children in Sierra Leone.
I need to say thank you, also, for all the warm wishes that poured in after I posted about Thor, our new rescue dog. A few folks suggested that he might be a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, which I had never heard of. He goes to the vet this afternoon, so maybe we’ll learn more about him then.
Thor speaks loudly, too.