An unsigned editorial in the Pensacola News Journal decries the decision of a local high-school teacher to cancel the school's One School/One Book summer reading program to stop students from reading my novel Little Brother. They point out that the principal violated school procedures when he took it upon himself to unilaterally cancel the assignment, and that this is both inappropriate as an educational matter and from the perspective of free speech and free inquiry. It's a great editorial, and it rightly emphasizes the bravery of English department head Mary Kate Griffith, who has fought valiantly over this issue.
We can't stress enough the importance of helping young minds decide for themselves their political beliefs, their values and their view of the world. That can best be developed through reading, especially as teens.
In emails, Roberts' wrote that the book "is about questioning authority" and shows questioning authority "as a positive thing."
It is a positive thing when done appropriately. Questioning authority ended segregation, got women the right to vote and earned our freedom from British tyranny.
Books that provoke or inspire teens to challenge authority are as important as those that don't. To critically examine governmental authority is to build a strong society. The goal of education is not simply to make good students, after all. The greater point is to produce good citizens. How glaring that a principal abused his authority over a book with the theme of government intrusion.
When books get attacked, it's really freedom of thought that's under attack. That may be acceptable in China, but not in a free society like ours — especially in a classroom.
We don't fear books [Pensacola News Journal]
Lauren McLaughlin is no stranger to hard-hitting, unflinching young adult novels: her debut, Cycler (and its sequel, Re-Cycler) was about a teenaged girl who turned into a boy for four days every month; Scored was a class-conscious surveillance dystopia; now, in The Free, McLaughlin sheds any fantastic or futuristic elements and mainlines a pure, angry, relentless and stripped-down story about a kid whose desperate circumstances become almost unbearable when he takes a fall for a car-theft and goes to juvenile prison.
I’m touring 20 US cities (plus dates in Canada and the UK!) with my forthcoming novel Walkaway; the full tour hasn’t been announced yet, but I’m delighted to reveal that the NYC stop on May 3 will be at the New York Public Library, where my interlocutor will be the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Tickets are […]
It’s been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it — until today.
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