Monday, October 1, 2012

Are You There, God? Banned Books Week

They Count on Us
by Amy LV

Click the arrow to hear me read this poem to you.

Students - This is Banned Books Week, from September 30 - October 6.  This means that it is a week to celebrate and think about all of the books that people have tried to keep out of libraries and out of people's hands, a time to speak up for the freedom to read.  I do not believe in keeping books out of people's I wrote this poem. And I plan to read a challenged book - TO KILL A  MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee - this week. 

One important thing to know about the challenging and banning of books is that there are many people who stand up for books and ideas.  Because of these brave librarians, booksellers, teachers, and others, the characters in the poem above are still alive, still speaking to us from the pages of books we love.  They are not out in the cold at all.  Today's poem is just pretend.

I wanted to write a poem in honor of this important week.  I did not know what the poem would say, but jotting along, I suddenly imagined all of these lovable book characters...sitting on the outside.  And I decided to let Margaret write the poem.  You may recognize some of all of the characters in today's poem for all of them live in books that have been challenged/banned. 

Here is a list of the ten most challenged books of the year over at Huffington Post.  In THE NEW  YORK TIMES, you can find some ways to celebrate Banned Books Week.

Here is my 2010 poem for Banned Books Week - Warning.

Reading is our right.

Reading is freedom.  Or as the banner on says, fREADom.

Where do we get writing ideas?  We get ideas from our beliefs.  I believe in books.  What do you believe in?  Write about it.

Speaking of beliefs, it is time to nominate books for the 2012 CYBILS awards! Nominations open today, and you may nominate books in any number of categories.  See here for details on how to nominate your favorite books of the past year.

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  1. Oh, one of my favorite poems of yours, ever! I love the unassuming, non-strident voice--just makes the bullies look worse, ya know?!

  2. Love hearing from Margaret, one of my daughter's favorite books. This is just a poem that shows so subtly who is being left out in the cold-almost. Thanks for saying so much - poems rock don't they?

  3. Margaret is me, you know. When I read the book as an early teenager, I was Margaret Gibson. Who knew that I would get married to Mr. Simon and become Margaret Simon, just like Judy Bloom's Margaret? One year I encouraged my sixth grade students to read banned books and write a persuasive speech. I wish I had had your poem then. True readers feel like this about the characters they read about. I am partial to Margaret but all of these characters deserve to live inside the library.

  4. Love this poem, Amy. One of my favorites of yours. I love how you are so strong in your beliefs and you live them out in what you write, what you say, and how you teach. xxoo

  5. Dear Amy,

    I found this post via a tweet from the Berkeley Public Library...I may be late to the table, but I love what you're serving--great post!