I was just telling someone the other day about the time I checked A Clockwork Orange out of my high school’s library, and couldn’t follow the story from one chapter to the next.
“I’m smart,” I said to my friend Tyson. “But this book makes me feel really dumb. I don’t know what’s going on.”
He took the book from me and flipped through the pages. “That’s because half of it is missing.”
This morning I was sent this article.
When St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Austin, Tex., was faced with an ultimatum—pull Annie Proulx’s short story “Brokeback Mountain” from its reading list or lose a $3-million donation to its building fund—school officials chose to give up the money. That decision is reverberating far beyond Austin. Writers from around the country have been so inspired by the school’s actions that they’ve formed a group of young adult authors called AS IF! (Authors Supporting Intellectual Freedom).
I went to a school where parents could keep their children from reading Brave New World because of its references to birth control. And it was a public school.
Rock on, St. Andrew’s.
Meanwhile, something else has been building. When author Lisa Yee (Millicent Min, Girl Genius) read about the St. Andrew’s incident in a Texas newspaper, she posted the article on a young adult listserv. Author Jordan Sonnenblick (Drums, Girls & Dangerous Pie) wrote back, offering to send signed books to St. Andrew’s as a show of support. “I was thrilled to see this school standing up,” he said. Within a couple of weeks, authors Brent Hartinger (Geography Club), Mark Williams (the Danger Boy series) and Sonnenblick announced the formation of AS IF! and launched its Web site at asifnews.blogspot.com. A roster of more than 40 YA authors—Chris Crutcher, David Levithan and Cynthia Kadohata among them—joined and also sent books to the school. To date, Nazro said, St. Andrew’s has received more than 80 autographed titles. “They are still coming,” she confirmed. “Right now we are collecting them at the Upper School and hopefully by the first of the year we will have a special display for them and will include a note about why they are there.”
Rock on, As If.
[Thanks to Charles for the link]