Tag Archives: Laurie Halse Anderson

#METOO: Shout, Speak and Women are Some Kind of Magic

18 May

We are at a time when it is easy to feel alone, especially for those that have been through an ordeal such as sexual abuse, it is even harder to handle alone. Healing can come in different ways, and poetry seems to be fitting because what better way to repair one’s soul than to take in information in bits like poetry or verse. Authors like Laurie Halse Anderson and Amanda Lovelace are known not to shy away from this challenging subject. They work hard to give voice to those that have been silenced through abuse.

Shout and Speak
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of  Speak, her most famous book, which was also adapted into a movie starring Kristen Stewart. Speak was published in 1999. It brought to light what we see today in the #metoo movement, the perspective and growth of a victim into a survivor of sexual assault. This theme is carried out in her memoir in verse, Shout. The book Shout explains where her idea for Speak came from, which was her own experience of sexual assault at 13 years old by an older classmate. Although this book has a heavy undertone, revolving around this theme are lighter moments. These books are recommended for those High School aged and older. Anderson has always been a vocal advocate of survivors of sexual assault and the teaching of consent.

Women Are Some Kind Of Magic Series
by Amanda Lovelace
the mermaid's voice returns in this one
NJ author, Amanda Lovelace, published her first book before earning her bachelor’s degree.  Lovelace expresses her life of loss, resilience, and hope in her three-part series named “Women are Some Kind of Magic.” Through the series, she uses the women in her life and her experiences to express problems personal to her. Each book revolves around a different theme. In The Princess Saves Herself in this One, she speaks to the subject of resilience. In The Witch Doesn’t Burn in this One, she speaks of survival. In her last book, The Mermaids Voice Returns in this One, she goes between the themes of escapism and healing.  Stay tuned for our upcoming Wednesday’s blog when another of our library’s staff talks more about The Princess Saves Herself in this One.

Written by:
Elbie Love
YA Library Associate

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read: Banned Book Week

27 Sep

One of the things we love about the current state of young adult literature is that authors aren’t afraid to address difficult topics with their readers. Whether it is mental illness, sexual assault, police brutality, LGBT rights, or any of the other issues that young people are faced with, young adult authors have a deep respect for their readers’ abilities to navigate life’s challenges.

Because there have been so many wonderful young adult books over the past decade that have explored controversial issues, the genre still faces censorship challenges. While it may seem antiquated that anyone would try and ban a book in the United States in the year 2019, these challenges still occur all the time. For example, as children’s and young adult literature has become more inclusive of LGBT characters, there has been a relentless backlash faced against authors of these books.

While Amazon and the internet have created almost limitless opportunities for acquiring information, across the country books are still quietly removed the shelves of public and school libraries. When people ask if it Banned Books Week is still relevant, we need to remember that much of this “quiet” censorship of materials goes by unnoticed and has the greatest effect on children, people in poverty, and people from other marginalized communities who don’t have the resources to acquire information elsewhere.

As we celebrate Banned Books Week at the Hoboken Public Library, we reaffirm our commitment to providing our young adult readers with the choice to explore their passions without the fear they will be denied access to any of our titles. Below are just several of the titles we have on display this month in our teen room to promote the freedom to read without censorship.

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
The book tells the story of two boys who attempt to break a Guinness World by kissing for 32-hours straight. In 2019, a petition circulated in Orange City, Iowa to have the book removed from the town’s public library. Leviathan has been on the cutting edge of introducing LGBT characters into young adult literature and his novels have faced frequent censorship because of it.

Shout and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Long before the #MeToo movement, Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a groundbreaking novel, Speak, for teens about the trauma of sexual assault. Twenty years later, she followed up her critically acclaimed novel, with Shout, a poetic memoir, about her own trauma as a survivor. While Anderson has been an unflinching voice for survivors of assault, her books have been the frequent target of censors for their frank discussions about sexual abuse.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
Alexie’s book focuses on the story of Junior, a young Native American who wants to leave the reservation he was born on. He sees how life on the “rez” has resulted in addiction, early death, and lifelong poverty for many residents. When he is given the chance to go to a school outside the reservation, he becomes an enemy to many people back home who see him as disloyal to their struggles. The book has been challenged for profanity, violence, and alcoholism and frequently shows up on lists of the most banned books of all time.

Written by:
Karl Schwarz, Young Adult Librarian
and Elbie Love, Young Adult Library Assistant

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