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Happy Banned Books Week

It's Banned Books Week! 

What can you do to protect intellectual freedom where YOU live? 

Talk to your school or public librarian. Ask him or her if challenges have ever occurred in your school or community. Get informed! 

Start a dialog with your friends about book banning.  Even if you don't all agree, it's better not to be silent! And it's good to push people to articulate the reasons they fear certain books, and to ask them to listen to another point of view.

Ask your English teacher if you can have a conversation in class about the topic. 

Also: READ. Here's a list of the top ten banned books for 2009 (and here's the link).  I am proud to say that I am friends with two of these authors! Carolyn Mackler and Lauren Myracle. I have read their books and recommended them to many.  I am also proud to say I've read 8 of the ten books on this list. 

How 'bout you go buy one this week? And read it!  All but The Color Purple, My Sister's Keeper and The Catcher in the Rye are written and published for young readers. And Tango Makes Three is a picture book. 

Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom 
1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson 
Reasons: homosexuality 
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group 
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer 
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult 
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 
9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group 

Dan Savage video

Video of the awesome columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry: "It Gets Better."  Must-see viewing for anyone young who's gay or questioning.  Share it with your friends and the kids you know!


Thanks to bookseller and picture book author Elizabeth Bluemle for the link -- and also to Jack Lechner, who wrote a musical based on Savage's book The Kid, all about the process of adopting his son.

related: Librarian and author Sara Ryan’s GLBT Booklist

Zombies Vs. Unicorns

Libba Bray sent me this! You should go! 


As you may or may not know, this Thursday, 9/23, at 6 PM, there will be an EPIC debate at Symphony Space in NYC to celebrate the release of the new anthology, ZOMBIES VS. UNICORNS. 

This debate will settle, once and for all, the question of which is superior, icky, rainbow-farting unicorns or awesome, bad-ass zombies. Not that I am biased in the slightest.  

Here is the link:



* I am not using a royal we. The participants include Justine Larbalestier, Holly Black, Naomi Novik, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, Maureen Johnson, and yours truly. 

AFP and Suzanne Collins

Two strange connections this week. 

Am really loving music by Amanda Palmer  -- whom I discovered b/c she is the future wife of Neil Gaiman, and I am so grateful because she is just a phenomenal singer and performer. Anyway, I was hanging out with  this musician friend of mine, a bass player who rocks out with all kinds of amazing musicians including his band Ollabelle, and he was all, "oh, I used to know the Dresden Dolls," (which is AFP's band). "I used to go out drinking with them after shows like 20 years ago." 

So then I fainted a tiny bit at his complete and utter coolness that I hadn't even known about til' now.

Then today my dad calls me up and says, "Oh by the way, I realized I know this YA superstar." 

"Besides me?" I said. (Joke)

"Yah. Suzanne Collins."

Then I had an even bigger faint because of course you never even suspect your DAD might be cool. 

Dad  said, "Well, I used to know her fifteen years ago. She was a student of mine."

So then I was all, "oh, hunger games, blah blah blah peeta blah blah blah killing each other blah blah mockingjay blah blah blah" -- 

and my dad totally lost interest in the conversation. But oh well.  

A pic from the Bklyn Book Festival

The Brookyn Book Festival (past weekend) was awesome.  Here is a picture of the humor panel I was on!  Left to right: me, Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, and moderator Betsey Bird, aka Fuse No 8. 

It rained, and the panel was at 10 am, but people came. And asked good questions.  

Two people asked me afterwards if I am a feminist. 


Fitness for Nerds

I am late posting this
(because I am on vacation! yes, still! despite NYC public schools starting earlier today! sshhh don't tell)
but it brought so much joy into my nerdy life
that I post it anyhow

I am very very proud to call John Green my friend. Dude, you have surpassed yourself.
 By the way, Green also writes books and if you haven't read An Abundance of Katherines I suggest you do so now.  I mean, after you watch the video.