I know that because Joan Bertin, Executive Director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, and I recently asked some authors of frequently challenged books—Chris Crutcher, Matt de la Peña, emily danforth, Ellen Hopkins, Lois Lowry, Wes Moore, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Rainbow Rowell, and more to come—to share letters and messages they’ve received from their readers.
You can read what they said on our blog “Kids Explain How Banned and Challenged Books Helped Them and Even Saved Their Lives.”
Unfortunately, adults concerned about something they don’t like in these texts often keep these books away from the very readers who need them and
the kids’ “views are rarely heard in the over-heated debates that often accompany book challenges. Instead, the adults – parents, school administrators, and school board members – make decisions about what kids should read without always appreciating how books with “controversial” content help young people learn and mature.”
Pernille Ripp writes about this very thing on her blog “The Reading Rules We Would Never Follow as Adult Readers,”
“When my students started telling me their reading truths, I drove home in shame; how many of the very things they told me had killed their love of reading were things that I had done myself as a teacher? How many of the things was I still doing? Yet, within the words of my students, I found the biggest truth of all; different children need different reading experiences and so what that means is now I try to create a passionate reading environment, where there is room and scaffold for all of my readers. Not just those that can work in one system concocted by me.
…And you know what; don’t take my word for it; ask your own students. Then listen. Then do something about it.”