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Lake County Public Library Blog

2nd Annual Banned Books Week Event!

by Lanna Gonzales on 2022-11-17T16:28:00-07:00 | Comments

Fundraising for the 2nd Annual Banned Books Week Event!

We found the Banned Books Week event with Nic Stone sparked inspiration in the youth, a change of perspective in adults and the fan girl in everyone. After seeing how the community came together and interacted with Nic, we decided it must be an annual event!

For Banned Books Week in 2023, we are aiming high and hoping to secure highly awarded YA author, George M. Johnson, to come to Lake County. Following our theme of banned/challenged authors, we wanted to add a little sPiCe in 2023 and bring an authentic voice from the LGBTQIA+ community. We came to this decision for two reasons: 1) books featuring LGBTQIA+ content are the most challenged and 2) we want members of our LGBTQIA+ community to feel represented.

Johnson's YA book All Boys Aren't Blue is one of the most banned/challenged books in the U.S today for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity and being sexually explicit. From the memories of getting his teeth kicked out by bullies at age five, to flea marketing with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual relationships, this young-adult memoir weaves together the trials and triumphs faced by Black queer boys. Both a primer for teens and young adults eager to be allies as well as a reassuring testimony for young queer men of color, All Boys Aren't Blue covers topics such as gender identity, toxic masculinity, brotherhood, family, structural marginalization, consent, and Black joy. Johnson's emotionally frank style of writing will appeal directly to young adults. 

Johnson responds to claims his book is “sexually explicit” and should be banned for that reason: 

It’s disingenuous for multiple reasons. There’s this misconception that this book is going to children—they’re using language like, ‘Do you think an eight-year-old should read this?’ And my response is, no, that’s why it’s geared for 14 to 18-year-olds.

We also have to stop pretending like my book is what’s introducing [a] child to sex. It isn’t. [A] 14-year-old child, by the time they’ve read my book, may have already had sex. So them reading about a sex scene is possibly more about their own experience, in their own life. 

The part that’s also being left out is that I am talking about sexual education. I am talking about consent. I am talking about agency. And I am using my story to teach kids about the mistakes that I made the first time that I was having sex, so they don’t make those same mistakes. I am teaching kids about not feeling guilty when sexual abuse happens, and how to recognize sexual abuse—most teens don’t even recognize they’ve been abused. And how to fight back against those traumas that you can hold on to for so very long. So they’re leaving very, very important context out, intentionally of course, to try and say my book is pornographic. (Carlisle, 2021)

Ways to support our efforts:

Donate to LCPL for CO Gives Day, donations are accepted now until Dec.6th!

Donate any day through our Fiscal Sponsor, LCCF

Come to Trivia Night on May 19th, where the door procedes will go to securing George M Johnson

Get a tattoo at the Flash Tat fundraiser hosted by the Leadville Tattoo Shop on Feb. 26th! There will be non invasive ways to support at this event. 

If you are an organization and would like to participate in anyway, please reach out to Lanna (lanna@lakecountypubliclibrary.org)

We will keep you updated! 

 


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