Sunday, October 17, 2010

Devyn Burton Speaks Out + Giveaway

Devyn Burton writes stuff for teens. He was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease, and lives every day to the fullest. He is the Founder of Book Transfusion, a book charity that focuses on getting new books into the hands of hospitalized teenagers. In late 2008, he launched FiveAwesomeYAFans, an interactive book reviewing website.

Let’s play a little game called Devyn Burton Attempts To Act Smarter Than He Really Is (DBATASMTHEI). When I was asked to write about banned books week I was a bit hesitant, I wasn’t sure what I would talk about that hasn’t been covered. That is until I came across a post by Leah Clifford (here) in which she talks about #SpeakKindly and it caused me to think about how we treat censors of the world.

I think when we see someone censoring a book we tend to react drastically. While I do believe it’s important to support our beliefs about anti-censorship we easily forget that the censors are usually supporting their own beliefs.

In the end that’s what it comes down to, we all have beliefs and it’s up to us to support them. Because if we don’t who else will. For instance, a strict member of a church that is often confused with polygamy (I’m not name dropping as my family members are ex-members of the ‘church’), would totally be against Will Grayson, Will Grayson. They don’t HAVE to read the book to know they are against it, they do not support homosexuality thus they do NOT support the book.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that they are right. I’m pointing out a fact that we seem to forget.

It is our job as ‘anti-censors’ to educate these people, it is their job to ‘educate’ us about their beliefs as well. However, it is not the appropriate response to ‘fight fire with fire’. When a student does not understand their calculus homework, the teacher does not belittle them and call them ‘idiot’ as well as ‘stupid’ and so on.

Would YOU want to have a teacher that pointed out your every mistake?

Education is the key to explaining why certain books are important and really while all books should be accessible to anyone regardless the content.

I have recently seen Ellen Hopkins speak at an event in Naperville where she was talking about censorship and said something along the lines of “Just because a book about drugs and prostitution does not apply to your child doesn’t mean it cannot help a child who has been put in that situation. I recently had a girl thank me for a book, her step-father put her into prostitution at the age of five.”

I can’t agree more, not only is it important to have books accessible to those who have LIVED the stories but it’s also important to let your child experience these stories through a book so if the event ever arises in their life they hopefully know the right choice to make.

I feel like I have rambled about a few different topics here but hopefully you can see how they all work together. If we want our cause to be heard we need to carry it out in a calm and polite manner. Ellen Hopkins is a strong supporter of anti-censorship but always carries her fights out with class and respect.

I would like to share the following poem with you:

Sweet Screams,
Devyn Burton

My blog -
Link to Ellen Hopkins's website

Giveaway Time!!
With the help of Devyn, Simon & Schuster sent me a few "Manifesto" posters by Ellen Hopkins! And now I will give them away!! All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me your favorite banned/challenged book. you get one bonus point for sharing via Twitter, Facebook, etc. Please spread the word! Leave your direct links in the comment along with your email address!

Giveaway ends next Sunday night, October 24th! Thanks for being a part of Banned books Month here on Novel Thoughts and helping speak out against censorship!


  1. Wow. This poster would be great for my classroom, where ALL of Ellen Hopkins's books can be found!

    So, I have lots of favorite banned books. There are the ones that I believe can help teens and adults who are going through struggles in their lives, like Lauire Halse Anderson's Speak, Ellen Hopkins's Crank, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Alice Walker's The Color Purple.

    Then there are those that are brilliant books that people seem to just be afraid of/ misunderstand: Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, the Harry Potter series, and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.

    Then there are others that I can't even fathom being banned: Anne Frank's Diary, The Grapes of Wrath, and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

    Every book has a life. Before the end of mine, I hope to read them all in happy celebration of their right to live and my right to think for myself.

    Thanks for this giveaway!

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  2. It's interesting because the more I research, the more I find that my favorite books have been challenged/banned. There are some that I totally did not expect.
    Anyway, my favorites include the following: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looking for Alaska,
    Speak, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Catcher in the Rye.