TWISTED still under threat in KY – you can help

The English teacher in KY who has been dealing with the challenges to several books, including TWISTED, has to jump through new hoops before the books will be allowed back in the classroom.

Three of the books: TWISTED, LESSONS OF A DEAD GIRL, and RAPTURE OF CANAAN have again been banned by the superintendent. According to the teacher, he does not feel they are appropriate for college level work, i.e. they do not belong as literature circle selections in an AP English course.

The teacher writes: "The superintendent wants to know that other schools are using these books in the classrooms, not in their libraries. If you all know of ANY schools where any of the listed books are being used, or if you have any evidence that they are "college level" and prepare students for college, PLEASE send it …."

Here is my plea.

If you use any of these three books in your classroom, please email us.

If you can provide your rationale for any of these three books, please email us.

If you are a college professor and you have knowledge of the teaching of these books, please email us.

If you are or were a student who was taught any of these three books please email us.

Send all your information and comments to my assistant, Queen Louise. Her email is queenlouise AT writerlady DOT com . We’ll forward everything to the district in questions.

Thanks so much for all your help with this, my friends.

20 Replies to “TWISTED still under threat in KY – you can help”

  1. Also, if you have easy access to Lexiles/AR levels/etc. for classics such as Old Man and The Sea or The Pearl by Steinbeck, please send those for comparison.

  2. My apologies for not sending an e-mail, but I try to keep my RL and LJ IDs somewhat separate.

    I am on the faculty at the University of Texas at San Antonio.Both Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Rapture of Canaan are a part of the library holdings at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

    The Rapture of Canaan is a part of our regular holdings – that is to say, it is a text that our university students can check out and read. Twisted is a part of the juvenile literature collection, which students can also check out to read.

    That is to say, the University of Texas at San Antonio deems these texts worthy of the very limited shelf space we have in our (relative to our student population) under-resourced library.

  3. Speak

    While I have not read any of the three listed for class or have I used any of those three in my classes, I have used Speak. I had to read it in college and I use it in my classes. The novels are of similar style and are of similar litature statures…

  4. While I do not teach Twisted, I have read the book and I keep it as part of my 8th grade class library. I have encouraged several students to read Twisted in connection with my unit essential question, “How do the events of our lives impact our identity?”

  5. I haven’t read Twisted yet, and Speak was the only one of yours that I was taught (while IN college, so take THAT), so I don’t think I can be of much help here. But if Twisted is anywhere near as powerful and moving and focused on an issue as Speak was, then it absolutely is college-prep material. I actually learned how to teach Speak at the high school level while I was in college. Think of all the things high school kids could do with your books!

  6. Dr. Freeman and censorship


    Don’t you find it utterly ironic that the superintendent of one of the schools in this controversy is named Dr. Freeman? And what a legacy that name has in your own lexicon of literature. I’m thinking of Speak and the Maya Angelou connection. Wow.

    I can tell you that one of my kids from last year, she is now a junior, told me that Twisted is the first book that she ever read on her own. She loved it and she is a “reluctant” reader.

    Scotia John (snailmail coming your way soon) 🙂

  7. Defending YA Lit in HS

    In addition to what you come up with regarding your books, I think a defense might be mounted that there is value in teaching young adult literature to high school students. Two article in English Journal provide excellent support. In the January 1991 issue, Susan Rakow defends teaching YA lit. to honors students with some interesting arguments. Ten years later, Chris Crowe made what I still think is a brilliant case for young adult literature in “Young Adult Lit: AP and YA?” (Sept. 2001).

    Access to the JSTOR database will provide these articles in full text.

    Good luck.

    Louann Reid
    Colorado State University

  8. I think it is beyond stupid when books are banned. Im a senior in college and a Language Arts Education major. I loved Twisted and so did everyone I passed it to. Though the cannons are important it is essential for readers to feel connected and Twisted is a book girls and especially boys can connect with. Beyond teaching the goal is to make lifelong readers. I’m curious how familiar the super intendent is with Louise Rosenblatt…if the students like it then its worth teaching. End of story!

  9. fight banned books!

    Hi there,
    I’d love to help in any way I can. I had a school in Hawaii ban my book HERO from being taught in the classes. There was a passionate couple who teach in the school, and they wrote to tell me about it.

    Ironically, once the book was banned, they said it flew off the library shelves. Sometimes I think all the right people banning your book can possibly be a great endorsement and bring awareness to your novel, which you deserve. Your books are important. There are those that really need them, need to read them. I can’t believe anyone would go out of there way to make these fine books unavailable to the very young readers they may help and inspire.

    Please contact me and let me know how I can pitch in. These supposed “educators” banning your book truly sickens me.

    They also keep the fire lit in my belly. Let’s fight it!

    Yours truly,

    Perry Moore
    author of HERO

  10. Dear “Just the Facts”

    I don’t believe any facts have been distorted when LHA quotes her source coming directly from the teacher who is involved with this situation. Everyone who reads this journal would love to read a direct quote from the superintendent. Is there any local media coverage of this realignment of required reading?

  11. I am a teacher in Michigan and I use Twisted and Speak in my classroom. While I don’t actively teach it, I do read it aloud to my classes ( a tradition passed on to me by a very wise and special college professor.) the students who listen to the stories learn to appreciate reading, and most of them go on to do more personal reading themselves. Everyone loves Speak, but Twisted really speaks to the boys– most of whom are never exposed to a story with a male protagonist with a message as important as this one. Keep writing Laurie– we’ll keep reading and sharing with students!

  12. banned books

    It’s surprising how fear drives people to say and do the unthinkable. I’ll think of something and try to help.

    Best of luck!


  13. Banning books is silly!

    Howdy. I’m an eighth grade student and I’ll begin by telling you that I’m a picky reader. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had to switch between books because of my rigid opinion of story telling.

    The thought of of banning any book from a school appalls me. Students should be allowed to read whatever they want. I understand that children already have quite a plethora of books to choose from, but blocking them from any of it is a little absurd.

    I’ve never read Twisted or Speak but I can say that by this age students should be mature enough to read any of it. If they’re not then its the the problem of themselves or their parents’. Banning a book, to me, is just banning another element you could learn from.

  14. The Banning of Books

    Hey, I’m an 8th grade honors student, and I think that banning books, along with the other 8th grade student (which I know), is stupid! If someone publishes a book, and spent a lot of time with it, then why would someone ban it when there was a lot of hard work put into writing that novel? It doesn’t make sense! Again, like my classmate has stated, if a student/child isn’t mature enough to read it, then it is their problem, and not the whole student body. My teacher has most of your books on her shelf in the classroom, and I plan on reading them soon. (After I read “Chains”, which, so far, is a very good book. We are reading it for a class assignment. You a good author!)

  15. I am very appalled at the thought of banning books from school shelves. I’m an 8th grade honors student, and I believe that we should be aloud to read the books we want to read. They shouldn’t ban a book that may interest us. They are suppose to encourage us to read, but yet they still take away books from us… I don’t really understand it. But, I am definitely behind you on believing your book should not be banned. No author should have there books banned,they spend a very long time writing them just for people to not be aloud to read it. I think it’s very wrong, and I give you good luck on winning your battle!

  16. Twisted

    I don’t know if this helps anything, but we have Twisted in our high school library, and it was selected as one of the books to read in the NoGa Book Club. I am in the Book Club and I read Twisted, and I absolutely loved it. I hope they will allow it to still be read.

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