Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Banned Books: Gay & Lesbian Literature in the School Library

According to the Guardian, Revolutionary Voices, a collection of stories, poems and artwork by young homosexuals, was banned at Rancocas Valley Regional High School last week.

AM I BLUE? edited by Marion Dane BauerI still remember the uproar caused by Am I Blue?: Coming Out from the Silence when it was published in 1994. This collection of original stories—including works from such authors as C. S. Adler, Marion Dane Bauer, Francesca Lia Block, Bruce Coville, Nancy Garden, James Cross Giblin, Ellen Howard, M. E. Kerr, Jonathan London, Lois Lowry, Gregory Maguire, and Jane Yolen—honestly portrays the book's central theme of growing up gay or lesbian, or with gay or lesbian parents or friends. The book received wonderful reviews—and it won a slew of honors:

  • ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
  • ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults
  • ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Book Award
  • Horn Book Fanfare
  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age
  • Minnesota Book Award

And, still, Am I Blue? was challenged in many districts.

It's been sixteen years since Am I Blue? was published—and there's still a need for teens to have access to books like it. In yesterday's Guardian article, Amy Sonnie, the editor of Revolutionary Voices, read from a letter from a 15-year-old boy, who wrote that on reading the volume he was relieved to discover "that there were other people out there who shared elements of my identity."

2 comments:

  1. I love that there are books like that out. I met a woman the other day who was trying to write a similar book (about dealing with children coming out, and helping them with the process). She seemed so worried when she told me, because I'm sure she's gotten plenty of bad looks about her subject of choice, but of course I was excited about it. I do think more books are needed, and definitely not banned.

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  2. It's so sad that these books are so often banned, when they are some of the most valuable books to have available to kids/teens. They really have saved lives.

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