Don’t Forget to Be Awesome

Academic Freedom, Banned and Challenged Books, Censorship

Nerdfighters Unite! Author, John Green, has put out a call for action against censorship.

On Friday, April 1st he alerted his huge fan base on social media to a challenge at Marion County High School in Kentucky. His book, Looking for Alaska, well known as his first, best, and most challenged novel, centers around the loves and lives of teens at an Alabama Prep school. A High School English teacher assigned the book to her senior class and proactively communicated the reading with parents. Even though the teacher provided an alternative reading assignment for a student who’s parents opted out of the assignment, those parents are now campaigning against the book and personally attacking the teacher. The parents have submitted a formal request to remove the book from the curriculum and the entire school.

John Green's Facebook Page

Challenges to John Green books are frustrating and not uncommon, but here’s where the awesome part comes in. The comments. Normally I hate reading comments online, but today my heart is singing with the freedom to read and the power of a story.  As of writing this blog post, there are 645 comments and 2,149 shares to John’s call for support to English teacher, Emily Veatch (emilyveatch01 [at] gmail [dot] com).

This is exactly why it’s so important to bring censorship out into the open. While some may rant about pornography and erotica or call teachers “godless” others stand for the story and the characters and the words that have changed their lives. People on Facebook have posted tattoos, Kentucky librarians are creating book displays, hundreds of people are sharing the letters they’ve written, and mostly, they’re sharing the impact this one book has had on them.

“Having lost someone very dear to me suddenly a few years ago, I know that LFA is a book that should not be suppressed for such idiocy as “explicit content”. That book taught me more about life and loss than anyone else ever could. More importantly, it taught me that there may never be an answer but that is okay because other people in your life live on.”

Years ago, John created a vlog that I’ve watched and cited and shared too many times to count. Thank you John for being awesome and showing us how it’s done.



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