By now you know I was uninvited to the Humble (near Houston) TeenLitFest, set for January 2011. To date, four other authors—Pete Hautman, Melissa de la Cruz, Tera Lynn Childs and Matt de la Pena—have withdrawn, in a solid stand against censorship. When I originally blogged about the dis-invitation, one of the people commenting asked if it was fair to the other librarians (who are great supporters), or to the kids who won’t be seeing their favorite authors, all because my feelings were hurt.
I have thought long and hard about that question. The answer is, no, it’s not fair. All of us regret that our readers will be disappointed. But this has nothing to do with my feelings—or me. It has everything to do with censorship. As authors, we must maintain a unified voice against the idea that one person, or even a few, has the right to decide for everyone else what they are allowed to read, or what information they can have access to.
My books are already in Texas and, yes, that includes Humble. So I don’t believe uninviting me was about my books being for sale at the festival. That handful of people who were allowed to speak for Houston feared my voice. I have different ideas than they do, and they don’t want their children to hear them. I would ask them this—why not allow their kids access to different views, discuss why they don’t agree with them, then let them decide for themselves which speak to their hearts? Is parenting or teaching or checking out books supposed to be about indoctrination?
Imagine (God help us) if FOX was the only source of information we were allowed. We’d all be holed up with AK47s, waiting for the Obamanistas to try and make our children slaves of the Terrorist States of America. As you can tell, I am not a fan of Rush Limbaugh. But, much as I despise his message, he has the right to spout it. And you have the right to listen. My job, as a parent, is to tell my children why I think his message is wrong. It is not to ban him from everyone’s airwaves.
If you haven’t already, please read Pete Hautman’s blog about this. As he so eloquently says, “We can’t do nothing” about censorship. This isn’t fair. But it is the perfect chance to tell our readers that we stand united in favor of their right to read our books. Even if some people don’t think so.