For What It's Worth

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Speak Out!

Speak: 10th Anniversary Edition

Bloggers Speak Out is a movement sparked by the recent article, Filthy Books Demeaning to Republic Education by Dr. Wesley Scroggins that was published in the Springfield, MO News-Leader on September 18th. In this article, Scroggins vehemently advocates the censorship of books in schools, and specifically requests that the following books be removed from the Republic school system: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler, and Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. To show our support of these authors and to fight against book banning and censorship, we have decided to take action and speak out.

Twenty Boy SummerSlaughterhouse-Five: A Novel

I ordered my copy of Speak the other day and will make my way though the other books shortly.
I do understand why parents are concerned about what their children are reading but when we start equating explicit rape scenes with porn (in the case of Speak) then I just don't even know what to say. It leaves me speechless. Discourse should lead to informative discussions not book bannings.
Others have already blogged about this more eloquently than I could so here are a few links to their posts. 


  1. I know! It's rather outrageous that he said that the content in Speak is pornography--I've never read it, but that's nothing to some of the content out there, and besides, it does happen to people. Hushing it up isn't going to do any good.

  2. I think this is great what everyone is doing for these books. I haven't read any of them but I am intrigued after seeing the deluge of tweets and blog posts.

    +5 I'm a blogger (The Musings of ALMYBNENR) and I always review the books I'm reading so I will do so for this book as well if I win.

    +1 I also tweeted:

  3. I haven't read Speak yet, but I definitely plan on changing that now ... Twenty Boy Summer, too - I didn't even realize there was any controversy over that one, or I'd have bought it sooner. I can't understand how someone can compare a book dealing with rape to porn, I'm sorry but there's something severely wrong with that man ... he's completely missing (ignoring?) the fact that people get raped every day and - for some - there is often nobody to turn to and nothing to help them make it through ... FGS - if they can find hope and the will to carry on within the pages of a book, how can you EVER justify trying to get it banned?! It's just heartless and completely absurd. I can't even wrap my head around it.

    I'm a blogger and will definitely review this book.

  4. I want to enter after I read what that horrid man had to say.

    +5 I would review, and then give this one forward

  5. you're so awesome for doing this!

    +5 I'll be reviewing the book at :)
    +1 I retweeted, username tumblenc.

  6. I have 13-year-old and 17-year-old girls, as well as a preschool boy. I read Dr. Scroggins post which is very specific about material being available to children in schools. I noticed a lot of people have jumped on the "soft pornography" comment. I can only imagine he used the wrong word choice and meant to say something like "sexually graphic" instead. Or so I hope.

    I don't support the banning of books. However, I do think the reading material available in schools needs to be age AND content appropriate. And ultimately, I believe the parents should have the final say in controversial topics. For example, every year my girls have received sex education or have the opportunity to watch a movie which is PG-13 or above, I receive a consent form to sign. Just yesterday, I received a call from the school because my daughter forgot her permission slip to watch the movie.

    I don't know what was in the novel to get Dr. Scroggins riled. So, I can't blindly hop on either wagon. I will say, I don't agree with everything he said. I'm for sex education. I talk to my girls about it at home, and I'm all for them learning about their bodies (including reproductive systems) and safe sexual practices in school. Sex education isn't about teaching children how to have sex, but rather how to protect themselves if the time comes they decide to have sex.

    On one hand, I understand what he's trying to say about parents knowing what type of material is available to children in school. For example, I would be quite offended to find a book called "How to Properly Lynch Your Colored Employees in the 21st Century" by the KKK on a shelf. Yes, I'm being extreme. And no, I'm not saying Speak is on the same lines as the made up book I named. But at some point, we need to use common sense about what should be available to children and what should not.

    And if a book is required reading in school (as Dr. Scoggins mentions), I think the administration needs to be especially selective. And for a topic as serious as rape, I truly hope schools which might require this as reading don't just leave students floundering in a storm of emotions.

    As for me, I'm an adult and make my own choices about reading. :) One thing I can say, I like that "Speak" addresses real issues. Rape is such a secretive thing, I can imagine a lot of women and young girls find it comforting to know they're not alone.

    +5 If I win, I'll bump this book to the top of my reading list and review it on my website:

    +1 tweeted:

  7. @Reena I agree with a lot of what you said. I really feel the compromise here is permission slips for the parents to approve or dissaprove of the content. And yes these topics should be age appropriate with follow up discussions.
    I think a lot of these groups get riled about specific words or behavior and miss the big picture and the opportunity for discussion.
    I think what offended me so much is the thought that a rape scene - no matter how graphic could be considered porn in any way. And I just disagree with the banning of books.
    I live in a community that tried to overthrow all the librarians so that the city elected officials could choose the books for the library instead. They would have banned Harry Potter etc.
    I'm definitely agree with parental approval but I don't think this should be a broad decision based on one groups morals which seems to be happening a lot lately.
    I haven't read any of these books either so I can't speak specifically to his issues and that's why I didn't write a post about that but I do plan on reading them all soon so I have a better idea of what this is all about.
    I just feel the bigger issue of book banning is something that should be addressed.
    Thanks for your comment!

  8. Hi Karen, please include me in this giveaway - I'd like to both read and review the book myself in order to see what all the fuss is about. Having posted about banned books earlier in the month (11th September), I'm following up with a link to this post tomorrow (23rd September)+1 and promise to pass the book on when I have finished +5. As well as my main post, I'll also add this to my comp/giveaway page.

  9. @Petty - send me the post - I would love to read it!

  10. I've already got this book on hold at the library, but I'd love a copy of my own. I'm anxious to read it, along with other censored stories. If anything, Dr.Scroggins words have inspired me to seek out more books that people are trying to or have tried to censor in the past.

    Thanks for spreading the word and giving away a copy of Speak.

  11. Thanks for the great giveaway! I would love to read this book.
    +5 I have a blog and promise to post a review.
    amandarwest at gmaildotcom

  12. Thanks for the giveaway and speaking out!

    +5 I'm a blogger and I promise to review this book at

    Amy S.
    artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

  13. I can not believe that such things happen, this guy must really be sick! I hope the book isn´t banned.

    Thanks for the giveaway!


  14. Not a blogger, but I have the "speak loudly" thing on my Twitter picture! I also tweeted about it:

    For What It's Worth: Speak Out!

    cruzed at knoxnews dot com

  15. I have heard so many great things about this book . i would love to read it!
    +5 I am a blogger and I would be more than glad to review this book

  16. There's so much hype about this book I'm curious to see what its about. A friend of mine have been talking about this "banning" a few days back. Like I told her, its up to the readers to read the books they want. I'm sure they know what it is they're reading. And a rape scene is considered porn? Ridiculous! It's reality, it happens, why prevent people from reading that?

    Anyway, I'm a blogger too, and I will review the book and past it on to other bloggers should I win, my way of contributing to speak loudly. +5


    I tweeted:

    amaterasureads AT gmail DOT com

  17. Thank you for the chance to enter to win this book.
    Thank you...for speaking out.
    Censorship, and banning of books, is wrong.
    pippirose59 at gmail dot com

  18. I`m so glad that I can take part in something like this. It proves that we have humanity.

    I have a review but I`m from Bulgaria and my review is in Bulgarian so... you wont get anything :D +5

  19. I'd love to read this book!

    +5 I'm a blogger and I promise to read and review this book if I win. My blog link:

    +1 Tweeted:

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  20. Thanks, I'd love to win. It's like the book banners want to shut people up about this topic just like people often do to victims of rape.

  21. Thanks for the chance!

    simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

  22. I really want to read the book Speak - I think everyone should be able to have their choice of books. The things that happen in the book are reality, they will learn soon enough if they don't already know.

    +5 I'm a blogger who agrees to review Speak.

    +1 Link -

  23. Banned books are always such a touchy subject but I think that it is important for people to have choice. Speak is not pornography and obviously the writer of this horrible letter has not read it for it's real value. I'd love the opportunity to read the book again (I've read it once) and talk about the true meaning behind the title.

    +5 I am a blogger to agrees to review Speak

    +1 I tweeted

  24. I feel very close to this topic, especially about Speak and Twenty Boy Summer, both books that have personally helped me overcome a hurdle. I think it's abhorrent to ban these books from teenagers who might be feeling the same way the main characters did, the same way I did. We can't shield our children off from the entire world. Would you rather them be totally oblivious if a situation like this happened to them, or have an outlet for their feelings or a "guide" of sorts to refer to?

    +5 I'm a blogger and would LOVE to review Speak. I would even if I don't win, assuming I can go out and get a copy soon.

    +1 Tweet


  25. Hi,

    maybe someone should create a bagde saying 'anti-book banning'?

    I'm sorry, I don't have a blog [yet]


  26. Thanks for the contest! I'm really feeling the anti-banning that's going around lately. It's RIDICULOUS how many books have been banned around the world, and for really conservative and constricting reasons. It's stripping children & furthermore, people, of their rights and freedom.

    +5 I'm a blogger, and while it's not ideal that I send the book forth (since I don't have a copy for myself and I'm sure I'll love it), I agree to it. What can I say? I'm a giver. :P

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  27. Crud. I accidentally entered in the Mr. Linky. I'm not participating in Speak Loudly/Out, since I can't find enough words to coherently speak out what I have to say.

    My blog is

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  28. Thank you for taking part sorry I don't have a blog but I have spread the word on twitter alot. Thank you for the chance to win it :)
    here is my tweet for you

  29. I am standing up against censorship and standing up for the themes that books represent. The great thing about books is you get to choose to read it or choose not to and imagine what this world would be like without these "controversial book" There was a time that books about interacial marriage or female infidelity would have been banned. Thanks
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

  30. I don't think that the thoughts of one dickhead should stop me or anyone from reading a book that has obviously touched many lives. We have a mind of our own and we can use and think with it ourselves. I don't know about anyone else, but i'd punch this guy in the weiner if I ever met him.

    But there is one thing I will do, I will thank mr whats-his-name for bringing this book to mine and other peoples attention and all the good publicity that the books are getting.

    Thank you for this contest and thank you for speaking out!

  31. I would love this book! I've heard so many great things about it. Please count me in.

    +5 I am a blogger and would definitely review it!

    +1 Blogged:

    nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

  32. Thanks for all the comments - I just want to add that I finished the book yesterday and it is probably the least graphic & least offensive YA book I've read in ages! It is a really beautiful story and I hope kids get a chance to read it. That guy is waaaayyyy off base with this one!

  33. Karen,

    It's certainly starting to make me wonder about the book. :) Considering the way he feels about sex education and human biology (which I think children totally need. After all, we all have bodies and "special parts." And most of us are going to experience sex one day), it might be he's just a bit on the prudish side. Though I don't think kids should or need to be exposed to everything, there's also balance.

  34. @Reena - I can't even begin to tell you what a non issue this book is. The worst word in it is "pissed off" used once. There is a wonderful teacher in it....the so called abortion/partying girl thing is one paragraph - an observation by the MC - nothing described. The dysfunctional family is just of one unable to speak to each other - no big deal. The rape was never even described never mind explicit. I'm kind of stunned.
    It is rough (mostly becasue you feel for the girl - not because of the graphic nature) but I related to it in so many ways and it's just not explicit. Maybe you would have a different opinion. I've probably read 1/2 a dozen YA paranormals in the past week that were 10 times worse than that book.

  35. Karen,

    I'll admit. I'm a bit of a prude when it comes to sex in YA novels. I'm not very read in the genre. But from what I've seen, many YA adult authors don't really address the important issues surrounding sex and teens.

    One example is Shiver, which my oldest (17 yo) labeled as one of the best reads she had this year. I didn't mind the sex in it so much (which is glossed over) as the idea it seemed like not a big deal and did nothing to add to the story or character growth. Just something to do because there was time.

    Just like in adult books, I think sex in YA books should be purposeful. And it really bothered me that it took until the next chapter to say: Oh yeah. I forgot to tell the readers, we were safe about it if you were wondering.

    I'm thinking, really? Who brought up the condom topic and where did they get them? That's an important topic to broach, yeah? I know as a teen I'd want to know how people bring up the topic without making it awkward.

    Okay. I better stop, cause I think I've just gone on a tangent.

  36. This book has been on my list for some time.
    And when I heard that they were publishing an anniversary version, I really wanted to read it.

    My email is kathrynl2e(at)aol(dot)com

    +5 And I will review this book on my blog.

  37. Banning a book just made me want to read it more when I was in high school.

  38. As a former english literature major this issue is one that is close to my heart. Nothing makes my blood boil faster than hearing someone tell me what I can or cannot read.

    +5 whether I win the book or not I plan to read it and blog about it

    giveawaymommy at

  39. I would love to read Speak. Please enter me in this giveawy!


    familyhistree at yahoo dot com

    Sarah E