Monday, September 6, 2010

Ban This! Banned Books Week GIVEAWAY

 As part of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week and the Ban This! Reading Event (hosted by Donna of Bites and Steph Su), I am offering up one of my favorite challenged books of all time. Given the recent controversy surrounding Ellen Hopkins, I thought that it would be great to give away one of her books. I want to show Ms. Hopkins and her fans and her non-fans that we NEED her voice. Teens need her stories, her characters, her realistic writing. And her poetry. Man, she's good.

So, I am giving away one (used) copy of Crank to one lucky respondent. If you've never read it, you should. I loved it.  My students love it. If you have read it, feel free to enter and pass on a copy to someone who hasn't. I'm all about passing on books that people need to read.

 To enter, simply leave a comment that answers one (or both) of the following questions:

Why do we need authors like Ellen Hopkins? Why do we need books like Crank?

PLEASE leave an email with your comment. I am not going to spam you or anything, I just want to be able to contact you if you're the winner. This contest ends at midnight (EST) on October 2nd. I will make some sort of graphic representation of all responses to these questions. It'll be awesome. 

Go out and read banned/ censored/ challenged books! It does a body good!


  1. I believe we need authors like Ellen Hopkins to explore subjects that people are afraid to go into. Authors like her that describe experiences with things considered "taboo" gives people a glimps into the particular taboo. Because lets face it. It's easier to show someone why something is bad rather than just say it.


  2. I've read Ellen's books before (not this one...sadly!) and she blew me away! She has a great writing style and her works are really realistic! She's able to write about things that most authors are scared to write about (as Melissa said). I like that she goes out to show us that this world isn't as perfect as we want it to be!

    twilightforever.edward at gmail dot com

  3. I don't know. I haven't heard of her or the book so I can't answer.

  4. No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See "National Hogwash Week."

    Thomas Sowell says Banned Books Week is “the kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of ‘censorship’ or ‘book banning’ has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own.” He calls it “National Hogwash Week.”

    Former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all."

    And then there's Judith Krug herself who created BBW:

    "Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week," by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006. "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there."

  5. Thanks for hosting - please enter me - I am an old follower!

    I think that we need authors like Ellen Hopkins who are willing to talk about subjects that are important to teens that aren't easily discussed. I also think that we need books in this format that attract the reader who is looking for a "big" book and lots of white space.

  6. @SafeLibraries:

    I understand that you are (for some reason) not in favor of the ALA or their efforts to promote Banned Books Week. While there may not be any cases of books being banned in the US for the past 50 years, books are banned all over the globe every day.

    There have been several cases of parents challenging books where I live. Once, in my classroom. I will write more about my experience as Banned Books Week approaches. I hope that you will stop back to read it.

  7. Thanks for the contest!

    I believe readers all over need Ellen Hopkins and her books to remind ourselves of reality. We cannot just dance around "uncomfortable" subjects and deny that they exist. Doing this would only result in a muffled and scared society where people don't feel safe to express their beliefs. While others may find her books inappropriate, I believe they make a positive impact. From experiencing her novels, I believe readers would get a better sense of what is right.

    Rica C.

  8. My daughter and I have already read this wonderful book, but I just wanted to add a comment here. While no books may have been "banned" by the strictest definition of the word, we have to remember that wonderful authors, such as Hopkins, are being banned from young adult book events. For me, the spirit of Banned Book Month is more about preventing things like this from happening and sending the message that we don't want to return to a time 50 years ago when books WERE banned.

  9. We need people to tell the truth about what they think and feel and to depict real life - all kinds of real life. My students of both ages and genders read these books like crazy because they can sense the "realness" in them, whether they've been there or not.

    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

  10. "[W]e have to remember that wonderful authors, such as Hopkins, are being banned from young adult book events."

    Uninviting Hopkins, that's ridiculous. I hope it makes her even more popular.

  11. Why do we need authors like Ellen Hopkins?

    They keep it REAL. Adolescence is such a crucial point of a person's life, and I believe it is important that they are aware that these kinds of things DO happen. Just because something is censored doesn't mean it doesn't exist, doesn't make it fiction.

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

  12. I have not read this book - so I cannot answer your question.

    I like what your doing, it is important that we keep our minds open about reading books.

    Bottom line, if you don't like it. Don't read it. Don't let your kid read. But don't rob someone else from the opportunity to read a book.

  13. I don't know what I would say we "need" authors like Hopkins. I think the "need" is for freedom of the press. I like Hopkins, but I don't think that her books are a necessity to the formation of young minds or as a major contribution to literature that will one day become classics.

    However, I think we do "need" authors who are willing to stand up to censorship and make the issue public, which Hopkins has done an excellent job of.

    And as a PS to the commentor who says that no books have been "banned". This is true and I agree that using inflamatory language (banned sounds much worse than challenged) isn't the best way to get the point across. However, you should probably figure out a way to argue against the specific language used rather than dismissing everything promoted during banned books week. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  14. "You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater."

    Actually, it's not me doing that, it's the ALA, and that's the very problem. I only wish the ALA took the issue seriously. It is a serious issue, after all. But when the ALA uses the event to argue all material for all children all the time, while at the same time doing nothing to help people like the jailed Cuban librarians, even thwarting efforts to help them, then that's when the ALA makes a mockery out of the thing.

  15. Safe Libraries -
    I understand what you're saying about the ALA. Although I'm a member I don't agree with everything they do and say. But I don't think in her post Mrs. DeRaps was discussing anything concerning the ALA, other than the use of their slogan "banned books week". I agree that using inflammatory language to make your point on an issue isn't productive and can be self-defeating as it gives people a way to "prove" that you are wrong (case in point).

    But I also don't think that bloggers who are promoting Banned Books Week are necessarily affilliates of the ALA and are promoting anything other than the need for an end to censorship. Ending censorship doesn't mean all books for all children all the time. It means that one parent, teacher, librarian, or educator doesn't get to choose for everyone (and in this discussion I'm limiting myself to public schools and public libraries - private organizations are completely different). It means that the parent gets to choose for his or her own child. The answer to censorship is to make people aware of the issue and teach parents to take responsibility for what their children are reading, rather than expecting that to be policed by, essentially, in the case of public schools and libraries, the state.

    PS - Mrs. Deraps, I hope you don't mind my hijacking of your post. I'm just fascinated with/passionate about this issue.

  16. It's not hijacking. Thanks for the comment.

  17. Wow! I think I'm out of the loop when it comes to banned books because I didn't realize this book was even banned! I can definitely see why people would want it to be banned but at the same time I think it is such a good book for YA readers to read. This book is a testament to why parents should be reading what their kids are reading because a) they should know that this book is definitely a YA book and not for middle graders and b) they should be talking to their kids about the topics in this book. It's such a great book because it allows parents to talk to their kids about drugs, it gives them a way to start a conversation or continue a conversation about drugs. I think we need an author like Ellen Hopkins writing these kinds of books because she lived these books (as a mom). She is able to identify with the stories and make them believable for the readers and that is what young adults will relate to. I don't think books should ever be banned, but I do think parents should know what their kids are reading and "ban" them from their children as they see fit until they are old enough to discuss the material with them.

  18. We need authors like Ellen Hopkins because her ideas for her stories are fantastic and the way she can pull me or anyone into her stories is out of this world. The way she writes her books makes me wonder why she choice that way of writing, but I do truly love her writing. We need more books like this because it shows us some real life problems and also puts a little amagination here and there as the stories comes to an end, as well.

    Thank you so much for this amazing contest! =)


  19. @ Julie: I think that this is an awesome discussion. I am wishing that this discussion could take place in a forum where more people could see it...Rather than hidden just in this one post!

    @ All: I am not necessarily promoting the ALA. And I am not not promoting them. I celebrate Banned Books Week every year with my students, particularly as we are studying propaganda and censorship in relation to the books that we are reading. (Like Night, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, and Fahrenheit 451.)

  20. I've not read this, consider me entered. Love those banned books. Thanks for your visit today.


  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. We need authors like Ellen Hopkins because she is bold and brave and dares to go against the typical contemporary social views of what a novel should be about. Her writing is raw and read often with perfect clarity describing how life is really like, unlike the usual happy endings we read about.

    two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

  23. We need stories to be told even if they aren't for everyone. Those who they are for have the right to read them.
    bkhabel at gmail dot com

  24. While I've never read this book I am guessing by the title that it probably is written about an issue that people just don't want to face and that is why we need books like this and authors like this. Just because the book is about an issue we want to pretend isn't out there, whether it is rape, drugs, racism, etc. doesn't mean we can ignore it.


  25. I would love to enter if this is International.
    Ellen Hopkins writes about "real world" issues and realistic things. She dares to explore territories that have previously been unexplored.Her books are always different and a learning experience.


  26. Why we need author like Ellen Hopkins? because these are the authors who approach subjects thatthe rest of us want to avoid. They are the authors that warn us about the danger of the real life issues that no body wants to talk about.

  27. Why do we need authors like Ellen Hopkins? Why do we need books like Crank? Because they can help people through going through similar situations to know they are not alone. Also, to teach about real life situations and problems that could happen to you or those you know.


  28. I'm adding your contest to the Book Contest Directory which is a new site that compiles all the great book giveaways going on for people to know about!

  29. We need authors like her to tell us about the harsh reality of the world, one that no one wants to hear.


  30. We need authors like Ellen Hopkins because she explores real life, horrible problems to teens.

  31. We need authors like Ellen Hopkins because the terrible things in life don't go away just because we bury our heads in the sand.


  32. We need authors like Ellen to remind us about the unpleasant things in life. We should not keep teenagers wrapped safely in a cocoon without knowing what's outside.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  33. Books like this, if nothing else, are a record of the life and times that we live in. Years later, when the world has changed, people can come back to this book and it will be like an archeological dig... more telling than History books alone.

  34. We need authors like her who aren't afraid to attack difficult subjects and we need books like Crank because there are people who are going through what these characters do. Maybe it will help them... of course we'll never know if they keep banning books like this!


  35. We need authors like Hopkins because she doesn't shy away from the truth, no matter how ugly it is. She gives teens a safe, creative outlet to 'explore' questions and situations. She also inspires people and offers a place where they can go to feel less alone.

    We need books like Crank for the same reason.

    basicallyamazingbooks [at]

  36. It's poetry. She writes beautiful poetry about intense subjects. We need books like this because it enlights us to the ways of the world. Sad stories usually show preseverence or give examples of what not to do. Words are beautiful no matter what the exent is.

  37. forgot my contact





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