PEN Out Loud: I Write Banned Books
Censorship is happening today and it is infringing on the right of readers.
In celebration and defiance during Banned Books Week 2017, PEN America in partnership with Strand Books invites authors whose books have been banned or challenged because of their cover art and content to discuss their experiences, and how to get skeptical readers to live up to the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.”
The discussion will feature David Levithan, author of Two Boys Kissing, which was challenged in part because of the cover photograph of two boys kissing, Coe Booth, whose honest portrayals of inner city life have met with challenges across the country, and Ariel Schrag, whose comics anthology Stuck in the Middle has received multiple challenges due to “explicit language and content.”
David Levithan is the author of many YA novels, including Every Day, Boy Meets Boy, and Two Boys Kissing.
Coe Booth was born and raised in the Bronx. She has a master’s degree in psychology and has worked as a counselor for teenagers and families in crisis situations. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her first novel Tyrell won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novels Kendra and Bronxwood were selected by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults. Her first middle-grade novel Kinda Like Brothers was selected as an ALA Notable Book for Children and an NPR Best Book of 2014. Coe is on faculty at The New School in the Creative Writing MFA program.
Ariel Schrag is the author of the novel Adam and the graphic memoirs Awkward, Definition, Potential, and Likewise. Her new graphic memoir, Part of It, is forthcoming in fall 2018.
Jason Low is the publisher and a co-owner of LEE & LOW BOOKS, the largest multicultural children’s book publisher in the United States. Founded in 1991, LEE & LOW celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2016. LEE & LOW was named the 2014 Indie Publisher of the Year by Foreword Magazine. In 2016, the Eric Carle Museum selected Lee & Low as the recipient of its Angel Award for the company’s dedication to diverse books and to a new generation of artists and authors who offer children both mirrors and windows to the world.