So you’ve now read that she talks about how some people want sexually explicit books removed from the YA section of the library, or segregated, or be labelled that they are sexually explicit to warn teens and parents.
Surely, if a book is YA, it should be in the YA section so the young adults can find it? Removing it from YA I feel is out of order; they are Young Adult novels, for young adults. Why can’t they, or their parents, decide what they should or shouldn’t read? There is something seriously wrong with taking away the choice of whether or not they want to read a novel.
As you would have read in my review of Screwed by Joanna Kenrick, some librarians are refusing to stock it in their libraries because of the cover. In an email to me, Joanna said:
"The problem with the jacket, as I understand it, is that although it appeals to the teenage market, the booksellers and other adults involved in actually getting the book to the kids are too conservative. I did a talk last week to some school librarians – half of them said they would refuse to stock ‘Screwed’ in their school library, even if it were age restricted."
Refusing to stock a book that is so highly important in getting through to teens about some serious issues!
There’s something else I want to talk about on this subject in the comments, but I’m not entirely sure if it fits in with what was said above as I haven’t yet read the books, so I can’t be certain. If I say it in the comments, maybe someone else can correct or confirm.
I think I’m ok with the books being labelled. When my copy of Screwed by Joanna Kenrick arrived, there was a sticker on the front saying “Not suitable for younger readers”, and on the back, near the barcode it had “Warning: Explicit Content”. The same warning is on the back of Good Girls by Laura Ruby, and on Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill, the warning is actually part of the front cover design. I think this is all pretty fair, I know there are some teenagers who don’t want to read sexually explicit books, so I think the warning is good for them. I know some people disagree with parents deciding what they’re children can and can’t read, but I do – they’re going to know what their children are ready to deal with – so again, for the parents, I think this is fair.
You’ll also have read about some people wanting Baby Be Bop by Francesca Lia Block to be burned. I haven’t read this book, but I have a Dangerous Angels omnibus book with all the stories in the series in, because the series was something I may have done an essay on a few years back, but I know roughly about the stories. They don’t appeal all that much to me, but burning them?! How unbelievably outrageous! You have no idea how mad it makes me that people will actually suggest destroying books in some way, that’s just sacrilege to me. But going to such extremes to stop people reading a book?
So what do you think about all of this? Is there an acceptable way of keeping certain books out of certain people’s hands? Even if you disagree with censorship in general, it happens, so what’s the best way to go about it?