Though it's unfortunate that there are still people in the 21st century that try to ban books, but fortunately, plenty more people make it their mission to give kids books instead. For instance, after a parent in Charleston, South Carolina complained about a summer reading book, causing the Charleston school to ban Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers from their freshman summer reading list, the Internet donated hundreds of copies of the book to the local library for them to give away to students. Let's just say up front: books people are the best people.
Some Girls Are was originally one of the two options on the summer reading list for incoming freshman in honors English. It's the story of a high school student who is shut out from her friend group and bullied at school after she reports being sexually assaulted by her best friend's boyfriend. The book is aimed at kids in 8th through 10th grade, and has received positive reviews from teens and critics alike, and was chosen as a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. However, one mother felt that the heavy subject matter and the way the author dealt with it was inappropriate and asked that the principal take it off the list. The principal did so, despite the fact that the district's policy on such cases does not give him power to unilaterally make such a decision.
"In looking at the situation and circumstances and timing, we felt like we needed to try to accommodate the parent’s concerns, which had some validity, and make a common-sense decision,” the principal said at the time. “I think we could likely make a better choice.”
The book was replaced on the reading list with Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, which deals with similar themes, but many took objection to the fact that one parent was able to determine what an entire class of students read. As well they should be. If the parent in question wanted an alternate assignment for her daughter besides the two titles selected, it is her right to advocate for one. However, the idea that she could take the book off the list for everyone is outrageous.
In a lovely response to the controversy, the author, Courtney Summers, wrote on Tumblr, "[It] is not one parent’s place to make a judgment call and presume the experiences and reading needs of all teenagers."
It’s my deepest hope teenagers living the harsh realities I write about — because they do live them — will read my books and feel less alone. It’s incredibly powerful to see yourself in a book when you’re struggling. Not only that, but gritty, realistic YA novels offer a safe space for teen readers to process what is happening in the world around them, even if they never directly experience what they’re reading about.
She also took issue with the mother's assertion that her novel was "smut" and "trash."
Sadly, the book stayed off of the summer reading list, but fortunately, the Internet decided to try to get the novel into the hands of teens anyway. After blogger Kelly Jensen heard about the controversy, she reached out to Charleston County Public Library librarian Andria Amaral and offered to donate copies so that Amaral could give the books away. Jensen's followers got in on the action, and soon, Amaral had received more than 1,000 copies of Some Girls Are .
Never underestimate the dedication of book fans.
The books are on a special display in the library, and so far, lots of young people have been taking them home. Which is obviously awesome.
Hopefully all efforts to ban books end this way. Or, better yet, never get off the ground to begin with.