Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Evening With Sarah Ockler

As many of you know, Sarah Ockler's book, Twenty Boy Summer, was recently "banned" from my town's high school along with Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five.  Right before Banned Books Week, the school board voted to put both books back in the high school library.

But there's a catch.

They're kept behind the desk in the school library and only parents can come and check the book out for their teens like the books are some dirty magazines or something.  Which is a pretty lame solution.  I guarantee you the kids that really need those books don't have parents who will go to the school on their own time to check it out for them.  Sigh...

Anyway, my library was able to receive a grant that allowed us to bring Sarah Ockler to speak during Banned Books Week!  How awesome is that?

And get this!  I met her!  Squeeee!

I always wondered what authors who write somewhat depressing books are like- like are they all emo with black hair and clothes with a debbie-downer outlook on life?  No way!  They're totally awesome and well spoken and LOVE teens.  All Sarah wants is to convey these truly real emotions teens experience every day.  And even though Contemporary Fiction is generally not my cup 'o tea, I really think it's needed.  Teens need to feel validated that they aren't alone in what they're feeling.  That some adults DO get them.

Anyway, Sarah was absolutely awesome and had a wonderful answer to every question asked.  And there were a TON of questions.  It looked like she took days of careful thinking when in reality, she had no idea what the questions would be coming into the talk.

The message she stressed that night was that this book is first and foremost about grief and the ways different teens deal with it.  I think its funny she and her publishers had never once thought her book would be banned when she wrote it.  I mean, why would a book about grief be banned?

We had a great turnout and it was such an honor to have Sarah Ockler to our library.

And for those of you who still don't believe I work with THE Greenbeanteenqueen, here is a pic with her and Sarah!