Monday, September 27, 2010

BANNED BOOKS WEEK--VAMPIRE ACADEMY by RICHELLE MEAD

I will be posting my Banned Books Week commentary later in the evening/night this week because I'm coming down with some kind of cold/laryngitis crud and I feel like total crap!

I'm kicking off with a book that I'm currently reading that was banned in Texas in 2009.  It's Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (actually the entire series was banned) and here are the details:

Banned at Henderson Junior High School in the Stephenville, Tex. Independent School District (2009). The entire teen vampire series was banned for sexual content or nudity. Since the series has not been completed, “Stephenville ISD actually banned books that have not yet been published and perhaps even books that have yet to be written. There is no way the district could know the content of these books, and yet they have been banned.” Source: Nov. 2009, pp. 197–98, 225. (from ALA)

As I stated, I am currently reading the first book in the series and I haven't really noticed anything overtly wrong.  I mean, these Moroi and Dhampirs talk like normal teenagers.  And Rose, one of the main characters in the first book, is still a virgin.  I mean sure she messes around and makes out with guys, but I see this as normal teenage behavior.  I mean does it really do any good to shield our kids from this information.  I'm in the camp that believes that being informed is better.  If you allow your children to read these books, discuss them with your child and explain the things they don't understand.  And if you don't allow your kids to read them, leave it at that.  Don't ruin it for everyone else!

Here is part of Richelle's reaction to this occurence from her blog in October 2009 (read the rest HERE):

What are my thoughts on this? Well, the short answer is that I think banning books violates the U.S.'s first amendment. I'm not always thrilled by my country's choices, but freedom of speech is one of our most precious and amazing features. Am I mad or upset about this school district's decision? No, not at all! If anything, I'm kind of humbled and amazed that I would actually join the banned ranks of greats like To Kill a Mockingbird and 1984. I keep trying to imagine a book banning committee saying something like, "Well, that concludes our discussion on the social messages in Lord of the Flies. Let's move on to...Vampire Academy." Really?

As a former teacher, I absolutely respect and encourage parents to be a part of what their children are reading. However, banning books outright from schools and libraries takes this right away from families and denies them the chance to make their own decisions. It also flies in the face of the rights our country has always prided itself on, freedom of speech being the biggest. In my experience, many banned books are some of the greatest and most thought-provoking pieces of literature out there. Being in the company of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Cormier is an honor.

About the book (from Goodreads):
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

About the author (from Goodreads):
Scorpio Richelle Mead is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Michigan, Richelle now lives in Seattle, Washington where she works on her three series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths. She received a liberal arts degree from the University of Michigan, an MA in Comparative Religion from Western Michigan University, and a Master in Teaching (Middle & High School English) degree from the University of Washington. In the end, she decided writing was the way for her but believes all of her education prepared her for it.

A life-long reader, Richelle has always had a particular fascination with mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses that she then hardly ever wears. She is a self-professed coffee addict, runs on a nocturnal schedule, and has a passion for all things wacky and humorous.

Weigh in...what do you think?

2 comments:

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  1. I love V.A.! Fight the system.!!!!!!!!!

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  2. I love the vampire academy series I am reading the 3rd book(shadow kissed at the moment)! I been reading this book to my nephew every night and find it to be a thrilling read.! Banning books that actually would be great for a preteen to read is upsurde.! I say fight the system.!

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