Good Lord! It has been quite a week. It’s not even officially ALA’s Banned Books Week yet (Sept. 25-Oct.2), but already everywhere I go, all I hear is “This author’s books have been banned!”
You can read my interview with the Story Snoops here, where I discuss my personal experiences with (and greatest fears about) book banning. (Be sure to check out interviews with Ellen Hopkins, Judy Blume, and President and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental Carol Rasco’s, and many others!)
One thing I didn’t mention in the interview was the translator I had when I was in Poland on book tour a few years ago. She really got me thinking about book banning, and how far people who love books will go to preserve them. She told me that when she was a kid, she used to keep Judy Blume books (and Ken Follett novels) hidden under her bed to loan to her friends (like a secret library) even though by doing so, she could have gone to jail.
That’s because under Communist rule, Western literature was forbidden, as it was considered “unsafe” by the government for the people to read . . . much the way some people today seem to think certain books are “unsafe” for others to read.
It was only as recently as 20 years ago that Western literature was even allowed in Poland.
I’m not saying everyone who wants to ban books is a Communist.
I’m just saying book lovers like my friend the translator are always going to be willing to risk jail time or other hardships rather than see the voices of her favorite authors stifled.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another 20 years for everyone to realize that banning literature, like communism, just doesn’t work.
Please read my interview on Story Snoops next week to see what I think banning books does to a society.
It’s been a mega busy week here in Denver, where I attended a crazy fun Barnes and Noble signing and then an AMAZING dinner to raise money for Craig Hospital.
In addition to some amazing ladies (KAPPAS!) and authors, I also got to meet some Craig Hospital patients, like Tricia Downing, who spoke about what it was like to go from loving to cycle to not being able to walk anymore after being hit by a motorist who wasn’t looking where she was going.
When I first met Trish (truth: it was in line for the ladies room. Someone was using the wheelchair accessible stall and Tricia was waiting. Don’t we ALL use the wheelchair accessible stall? BECAUSE IT’S THE BIGGEST! Tricia was cool about it, though), she was looking at some notes, and I was like, “Oh, are you speaking?” and she was like (all modestly), “Oh, yeah. I guess.”
So I was like, “What are you going to say?”
Because I was just interested. I WAS NOT TRYING TO COPY OFF HER.
But Trish was totally onto me and said (again, all modestly), “Oh, I don’t know.”
So then she turned out to be at my table for dinner and we were kind of chatting and someone asked her what she had been doing lately and someone ELSE answered (because Trish was too modest) that she was training to be the first American woman EVER to complete the long-distance IronMan Triathlon in Hawaii (that’s swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26 miles, in that order, without a break, with mandatory cut-off times).
PARALYZED FROM THE CHEST DOWN.
So, yeah. I was like, “WHAT THE HELL AM I EVEN DOING HERE? Why am I even talking? I have done nothing compared to Trish. PLEASE DO NOT LET ME HAVE TO SPEAK AFTER TRISH!”
(Of course the authors had to speak after Trish.)
And of course Trish’s speech was AMAZING and she blew us all away and everyone was crying and we authors were like, “We’re just authors! We’re not worthy! We just write books!” and melted into little puddles, the end (oh, I added, “I met Julie Andrews!” but it’s not the same as biking 112 miles JUST USING YOUR ARMS! I’m sure Julie Andrews agrees.)
Here is a video about Trish’s story and also her website which you will want to go to after watching the video to hire her to come speak to your group. Get her to tell you the story about the time a few weeks after her accident when they said, “OK, Trish, sit up now.” IT IS SO GOOD!!!
Aaaaannnnd she’s really funny and modest and smart and cute. Tricia had to relearn how to do EVERYTHING, even the most basic things, like sit up. Thanks to her determination (and Craig’s amazing rehabilitation specialists), Tricia is “redefining able.”
After my amazing time with the Kappas (remember, you can still use your coupon to contribute to Craig if you buy books at Barnes and Noble through September 25), I had the best time hanging out with my family, going up to the mountains (that would be the Rocky Mountains) and then traveling back down from 12,000 feet above sea level for multiple fantastic school visits!
Afterwards, there was a brief foray with my nieces into territory some of you might recognize:
Auntie Meg had no idea those American Girls had so many accessories!
Or that they could be so sparkly!
Afterwards, everyone went to Cheesecake Factory, then learned a very good game Auntie Meg thought of called “Sleeping Cowgirls.”
Then Auntie Meg finally had a chance to relax over at her auntie’s house. Cheers to aunties!
I hope everyone has a great weekend playing sleeping cowgirls! I know I will. Sleeping cowgirls is the best game EVER.