Thursday, May 03, 2007

Maureen Johnson Confesses to Being a Dangerous Person

I AM A VERY DANGEROUS PERSON is the title of a recent entry on Maureen Johnson's web log.

She had received an email from Ninja Librarian Susan Hunt of the Bartlesville, Oklahoma school district, where a challenge to Maureen Johnson's The Bermudez Triangle,a Young Adult novel, was made on March 4, 2007. The committee reconsidering the novel informed Susan Hunt that the decision had been made to pull the book from the library. Apparently in 19 years, this is the first book that has raised objections.

Says Johnson,
Well, well, well. Looks like I went and got myself banned! Apparently I have written something so dangerous that it can’t be contained on the shelf of a high school library.

This was the letter that started it all:
I’m shocked and appalled at the lack of discretion, and moral decline in the selection of books at the Mid-High library. Homosexual content, unprotected sex, underage drinking, and reckless promiscuity are not values that belong in a school library. I understand there are parents or teens who are dealing with these issues, but not all parents want their kids exposed to this material. Personally, I would not endorse any of these types of book as “14-and-15-year-old-friendly.” Giving teenagers knowledge without guidance is irresponsible and dangerous. As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her. Parents are a child’s best line of defense in a world that rushes to grow them up too soon. This book, “The Bermudez Triangle” has no moral fiber, and wrongly promotes a “do whomever you want to discover yourself” mentality. There’s no mention of the myriad of diseases, pregnancy, destruction of friendships and lives that are very real consequences of a “sexual free-for-all” decision. I ask that his material be removed at once. You have a responsibility to the children at school to protect them and educate them. Let’s raise the bar a little higher, respect moral values and a parent’s right to guard that which has been entrusted to their care.

Johnson maintains that there is no sex in the book, but there is kissing. Says the author,
No moral fiber? Really? I beg to differ. The book is entirely about what happens to friendships when relationships enter the picture. That is, in fact, the whole book. Since there is no sex in it (just some kissing), pregnancy is not really an issue.

She explains that her mother who wouldn't let her wear denim skirts and still tells her that the stork brought her can't find a reason for banning the book.

I say she has joined the ranks of some excellent authors.

Read and watch author John Green's take on the banning on his "Brotherhood 2.0" blog.


Little Willow said...

Kudos for supporting the book and the author.

lifelongreader said...

I want to read this book -

What is that parent on:

"As a parent, I screen my 15-year-old’s television, Internet, video game, magazines, and books. There are things she’s not mature enough to handle, or are simply wrong for her."

She is soooo not in touch with reality - her daughter is probably on my space, youtube and god knows what other dubious sites.

I work with teens and they are sneaky when it comes to fooling their parents! [alt-tab anyone?]

booklogged said...

Now I want to read this book even more. And I'm going to pay more attention to my study hall students and alt-tab, which I didn't know about. Thanks, Lifelongreader.

lifelongreader said...

You're welcome booklogged (great name, BTW!).

Also watch out for Windows key + D - takes you to the desktop so all the open windows are minimised.