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Freedom to Read Pt 2

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

Maintaining freedom of expression requires a constant effort. It’s important to recognize our freedoms, and at the same time to be aware of the challenges they face. Just have a look at the lengthy list of books challenged in Canada for a reminder of just how fragile this freedom is, and the importance of continual vigilance to preserve it.

The Freedom to Read Week contest (deadline for submissions: Thursday, February 20) is a great opportunity to act on this right, and to consider what is at stake.

Not surprisingly, the dangerous friction between freedom and censorship has been explored by many authors. Here is a small selection of quotes that will hopefully inspire you in your own reflections.

Stephen Chbosky When you publish a book, you do so in part to end the silence. All censorship is silence. I would never, as an author, feel right requiring a young person whose family would object to the book to read it. Just as I would never force that person to read it, I would ask those folks to not force others not to read it. To me, that is just good manners.

-Stephen Chbosky
 
Sam Shepard I do not believe in censorship, but I believe we already have censorship in what is called marketing theory, namely the only information we get in mainstream media is for profit.

-Sam Shepard
 
Julian Assange

Stopping leaks is a new form of censorship.

-
Julian Assange

 
Jeff Buckley

I resent the fact that a parental warning sticker has to be included on an album as cover art. To me that's censorship.

-Jeff Buckley

 
Robert Cormier

You seldom get a censorship attempt from a 14-year-old boy. It's the adults who get upset.

-Robert Cormier

 
Lois Lowry The man that I named the Giver passed along to the boy knowledge, history, memories, color, pain, laughter, love, and truth. Every time you place a book in the hands of a child, you do the same thing. It is very risky. But each time a child opens a book, he pushes open the gate that separates him from Elsewhere. It gives him choices. It gives him freedom. Those are magnificent, wonderfully unsafe things.

[from her Newberry Award acceptance speech]

Submitting to censorship is to enter the seductive world of 'The Giver': the world where there are no bad words and no bad deeds. But it is also the world where choice has been taken away and reality distorted. And that is the most dangerous world of all.

-Lois Lowry

 

Neil Gaiman

 

A nice, easy place for freedom of speech to be eroded is comics, because comics are a natural target whenever an election comes up.

-
Neil Gaiman

 

Carl Sagan

 

Frederick Douglas taught that literacy is the path from slavery to freedom. There are many kinds of slavery and many kinds of freedom, but reading is still the path.

- Carl Sagan
 

Katherine Paterson

 

Reading can be a road to freedom or a key to a secret garden, which, if tended, will transform all of life.


-
Katherine Paterson

 

 

Ellen Hopkins

 

 

Torch every book.

Burn every page.

Char every word to ash.

Ideas are incombustible.

And therein lies your real fear.

-Ellen Hopkins

 

Lemony Snicket

 

The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all of the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all of the trouble that befell the author . . .

-Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril

 

Judy Blume

 

 

Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear.

-Judy Blume

 

Salman Rushdie

 

 

An attack upon our ability to tell stories is not just censorship - it is a crime against our nature as human beings.

-Salman Rushdie

 

Nelson Mandela


 

A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.

- Nelson Mandela

 

Teen Writer's Toolkit: Editing

by Emily - 0 Comment(s)

So a lot of you have already sent us stories for Just Write, and I'm really excited about reading them, but maybe there's a few of you out there who haven't sent us your story just yet, maybe you think you want to make it a little bit better first. Learning to edit your stories is something that takes time and experience. Sometimes you feel like something's the matter with your story, but you can't quite figure out what it is. For our last Teen Writer's toolkit I thought I'd give you some tips on how to get started editing:

1. Make sure your story is all typed out and double-spaced (that will give you lots of room to write comments to yourself). Print it out and get a pen or a pencil to edit with.

2. Read the story over carefully. Something people often have troubles with is describing characters or places so they really jump off the page. Will your reader be able to picture the setting of your story? What about your character? When you're describing things you want to pick unusual details that people might not have thought of right away. When people describe a character they might say "he was old", or "she had red hair." Can we picture that person? Not really. What if instead we said "wrinkles were etched across his face," or "she had spirals of crimson hair." Don't those descriptions sound a bit stronger? See if you can find some places where your descriptions need more unique details.

3. Read it out loud. Sometimes a story sounds good in your head, but when you read out loud it's like you hear it completely differently. Sometimes you might stumble over a sentence, or read something and think it sounds kind of weird. Those are the places you probably need to go back and fix. Trust your gut. This can be good for dialogue too. Writing realistic dialogue can be tricky. The best way to improve is just to listen to how random stangers around you talk (yes, I'm giving you permission to eavesdrop on people, but try not to be too obvious about it). Observing people and all of the little unique details about them will help you a lot when it comes to making your characters more realistic.

Hopefully that gives you a few ideas for how to polish up that story you're just about ready to send. Remember, the deadline is on the 25th, so you only have a few more days left!