Now let's say there's a small group of people - maybe just one librarian, and a handful of adults - who don't like what one of your colleagues has written. The author may be a New York Times Best Seller, she may write works of deep beauty and meaning that resonate with Teen readers, but they complain. The superintendent of the school, over the protests of other librarians in the district, decides to un-invite that author.
What do you do?
Are you a bystander? Do you attend the event anyway?
Or are you an UPstander? Do you stand up - again censorship, and take a stand? Do you pull out of the event yourself?
This isn't just a theoretical situation. It's happening, this week.
The festival is the biennial Teen Lit Fest (TLF) in Humble (a suburb of Houston, Texas), scheduled for January 29, 2011 and organized by the Humble ISD Librarians.
The author who was dis-invited last week was the incredible Ellen Hopkins.
Censored Author Ellen Hopkins
And on Monday, Author Pete Hautman withdrew from the festival in protest.
He wrote a great piece about this on his blog, where he shared that
And you know what’s really scary? Here is how the Humble ISD superintendent responded to a letter from one of the librarians who objected to his decision:
“…there are more authors that we would want at our Teen Lit Fest than we could ever have enough Teen Lit Fests to accommodate.”
Pete also published on his blog that
Tera Lynn Childs also withdrew from the festival on Monday.
Matt de la Pena withdrew from the festival on Tuesday.
*UPDATE 8/18/10* And I found out in one of my reader comments that Melissa De La Cruz has withdrawn from the festival as well.
Author Pete Hautman
Author Tera Lynn Childs
Author Matt de la Pena
There's a facebook page for the festival here that lists the remaining authors scheduled to attend.
BRIAN MEEHL, TODD STRAUSSER, & SHARON FLAKE
I hope these authors become UPstanders as well - and that NO other authors take their place.
We, as a community of authors and readers, of parents and students, of believers in the power of Children's Literature cannot stand by.
We must stand together, and stand up!
The concept of UPstanders is a wonderful one, coming from this great organization, "Facing History and Ourselves" - which links lessons from history (like the Holocaust) to moral decisions Teens (and the rest of us) face today.
I think this is a great example of authors facing a moral dilemma.
What would YOU do?
Bravo to Pete, Tera, Matt, and of course to Ellen Hopkins!
Let's go buy THEIR books.
And let's see what happens with this festival...