Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ellen Hopkins: Banning Books - Where Do We Stand?

The extremely accomplished Ellen Hopkins
Ellen Hopkins is the bestselling author of eight novels for young adults.

She's also written more than 20 nonfiction books, as well as a couple of adult novels.

Ellen is no stranger to controversy when it comes to book content. In 2010, she was the most-challenged author in the United States.

Her books about tough contemporary issues such as drug use and prostitution have been frequently challenged. She fights back vigorously, knowing from personal experience how vital some of these topics are for young readers to encounter in books. Eighteen years ago, her daughter tried drugs, and has struggled ever since. Sadly, Ellen reported that her daughter returned to prison today, and Ellen has become the guardian to her three young grandchildren.

Ellen has made it her mission to show the consequences of these painful decisions in literature. She writes books to change lives in a positive way.

"I was damn well determined if I was going to turn one kid away from that path, I was going to do it," Ellen said. "We write for our readers. We know who we're writing for. We know where they're living."

"If it's offensive to some parent, I don't care," she said. Books can help kids who've experienced traumas like sexual assault understand that they're not alone. 

She urged all of us writers to tell the truth, no matter what type of story we write. "That's your job as an author, and we will stand behind you." 

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