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!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you got to meet her. Lame to keep the books behind the desk.

Angela Felsted said...

That is so amazing awesome! I am crazy jealous.

Colene Murphy said...

Yeay! Pictures! So very cool!! (behind the counter like it's dangerous?! Seriously!?) At least they didn't burn em? Nope...still sucks! Congrats on getting an awesome close up of a great author!

Jennie Bailey said...

Totally awesome that you got to meet her! I love how you're all Squee!! inside but you look all cool as a cucumber on the outside. While I'm glad that Sarah's book is back in the library, I can't believe it's behind the counter.

Meredith said...

I love her books so much! So awesome that you got to meet her. I hope the ban on 20 Boy Summer is lifted soon.

erica and christy said...

LOVE contemporary YA and still have this one on my TBR pile, but it's making its way to the top! Love your picture!!

I've thought that 20 Boy Summer is banned mostly because of its title. What's Amy's take on it?

I checked out Slaughterhouse Five when I was in lower high-school and while it was allowed, my mom returned it the next day and yelled at the librarian for letting me take it out (she had no idea what it was about other than the title). So, um, yeah.

Jennifer Hillier said...

I'm a big fan of Twenty Boy Summer and am completely bummed it's "banned". I agree, keeping the books behind the desk is a lame solution.

But how awesome is it you got to meet Sarah Ockler? That's amazing.

Vicki Tremper said...

When will "the grown-ups" realize that banning books just makes teens want to read them more? So much for free speech.

Congrats on meeting Sarah Ockler and those awesome pictures! What a great memory.

Rachel Morgan said...

It's so exciting that you get to meet awesome authors in real life!

The only reason we have for keeping certain books behind the desk at school is that they're so popular that, if left on a shelf, they would get stolen! (I'm serious. This has happened.)

Kari Marie said...

Sounds like you had a really great time meeting Sarah Ockler. It must feel strange to an author when their book is banned.

Keeping books behind the desk seems like it will have the same result as banning it from the library, without the stigma of "banning."