Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I was Banned and Stuff!

I did not post yesterday because I was too busy going to appointments, all of which were useful but completely time-consuming.  I may be making some major life decisions soon, but I suppose every decision we make is major in some minor way.  How not profound.

Anyway, first a reminder that I will be speaking along with Adam Selzer at The Book Cellar tomorrow night in Chicago about having our books challenged/banned.  Info is on the right side of the screen.  I hope it is an awesome event and not one where we know everyone already and they humor us by pretending they want to hear what we have to say and then buy one book for that friend whose birthday is coming up.  I sound bitter for some reason.  I'm not feeling bitter.  A little annoyed, maybe.  I just finished writing my BBW guest blog for Quimby's, an amazing store in Chicago's Bucktown (where I used to live) that sells self-published zines (how I met my husband), along with great indie comics and other maybe not indie but definitely awesome items.  If you are ever in Chicago, you should visit for sure.  The point was that I blogged for them about being a challenged/banned author (because I am both!  Yowza! [That was for you, Brian]), which is a super cool thing, obviously, to be recognized in such a rebellious sort of fashion, but also obnoxious that there are people out there who want to take away children's freedoms.  Hopefully, when the Quimby's post is up and I link you to it, you'll read it.  But I wanted to include this email I received from a parent- a FATHER (since everyone always assumes it was a mother who wrote it)- about GET WELL SOON.  I read it at every school visit I make and every year during Banned Books Week at work, and it never fails to make me laugh while pissing me off.  Here goes:

Dear Ms. Halpern,
My daughter aged 15 was reading your book. She is quite a reader and reads all of the time. From time to time she will set down her current book and I will usually check out what she is reading. The other day I picked up a yellow covered book entitled “Get Well Soon”. I started reading the first page and could not believe my eyes when I saw the “f” word there. I started paging through the book and could not believe the curse words strung throughout. I looked at the cover and saw that it is labeled for youth. To be honest with you, I cannot understand how a book for youth and teens can be riddled with so much profanity. I am not going to attack you or assassinate your character but I will say that, in my mind, it is totally inappropriate and lacking proper judgment to write a book like this and label it for youth. It makes “The Godfather” look tame for crying out loud. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how I feel about your book.
Signed, Bad parent [not actual signature]

[I am repeating my conclusion from my Quimby's post, but I figure some of you won't read that and most of the Quimby's people won't read this.]
I think this letter speaks volumes about the way a book challenger’s mind works.  Try talking to your kids.  Because then you’ll realize that their reading books with swears and sex does not make them bad people.  It makes them readers. 


Brian James said...

"Because that old man's a real motherf@#ker, gonna kick him on down the line..."

You know, many of my novels are riddled with profanity. But two of them contain not a single one...because for me it all depends on the character. Some people swear and to be true to character is essential. That mother's note is really unbelievable. Even if one doesn't swear...one knows others do.

craftysunday said...

Julie! I'm so excited about your
speaking engagement tomorrow night. I'm going to try to make it after student teaching; I hope you don't mind I'm telling all my NT co-workers!

:) mindi

Julie H said...

Brian! I hope you were kidding about "that mother's note," because I already said it was a DUDE. A clueless dude, no less.

Crafty Mindi- You better come! That would be awesome!

Ali said...

I bet that the dad doesn't think twice about letting his daughter watch MOVIES with swear words.