So, you’re a parent of a 9th grader in Depew, NY, and you hear that the 11th graders in your school are reading a book. The parents of those children have to sign a release, because the book is “edgy.” If the parents don’t sign, their kids won’t have to read the book.

So you decide to read the book, even though it has nothing to do with your kid. And when you don’t like it, you try to prevent the older kids of those other parents from being allowed to read the book. That’s just how awesome a citizen you are!

John Green gives the details here:

John sums up what we all should try to remember about book banners: They aren’t trying to protect their children, they’re trying to protect someone else’s children. They aren’t wishing other people would make better choices, they’re trying to prevent every choice they disagree with. They know what everyone else should and shouldn’t read. And yet, overwhelmingly, their readings of the books they protest are flawed and simplistic.

Just remember: Book banners are not as smart, wise, or important as they think they are. And you’re much smarter, wiser, and able to deal with complexity than they think you are.

They are the junk mail of literary discourse.

Click here to see John’s post.

190 thoughts on “Alaska-Phobia

  1. Well! That was a good book. Series might i add.

    O God, the talk of suicide and emo people make me want to pray. Its weird cause the book i just finished the girl killed herself with overdose. It was sad but she was bad. She gave this girls bf a pill so he would do bad stuff with her……… and then the girl (who it was her bf) didn’t believe that someone gave him the pill until she saw the girls pill bottle that she killed herself with and they were the exact same ones. Now there back together. Yea!!!!

    Im going to go write now before my friend kills ME for the next chapter!!!

  2. I read the book 13 reasons why by Jay Asher andits all about stuff like this, it’s very sad though.But yeah, after my friends and I read this book I made it explicitly clear that if they ever tried to commit suicide I would take the liberty of bringing them back from the dead, then killing them again for being a mentally incapacitated retard. And if they ever started cutting themselves I would bring it upon myself to rip their tongue out, tie it around their neck and hang them from a ceiling fan until they promised to stop. Yeah, at first they’re all”That’s physically impossible.” And so I said something very specialesque “I can get creative.” Yep yep yep! So its very clear where I stand in this matter. Ha!

  3. Your right. Next thing u no, my boyfriend is going to to cut himself with a plastic spork that cost 25 cents from the lunch line.

    Ok, so i don’t HAVE a boyfriend, but if i did………..

    i like the whole tongue idea, that wold burn. See in my school u cant do stuff like that. We cant write on our selfs with pens for Heavens sake and if the teachers see they make u wash it off. Yep Yep. Cause my school is lame like that. Yep Yep.

  4. yes penguins are pretty fawesome. i spent the night at the zoo once and we slept with the penguins. (okay so we were on one side of the glass and they were on the other. but still. it was pretty freakin fool!) o and when i was younger i use to have this dream where my closet was the norh pole and i raised penguins in it. lol.

    i love how we have like this little community on here. and how whenever one of us is having a bad day or something is bothering us we can rant and talk about it. it’s very happy-making. 🙂

  5. And Netta-la, I definitely think you should tell an adult about your friend. If she’s suicidal and cutting herself, she needs help, and more of it than a peer can give.

  6. I’ve had a friend who was suicidal. Make her feel loved and it’ll be over.
    Is Uglies becoming a movie or no..? I don’t know if Scott had a blog about it or not.

  7. Oh, and to people above:
    I slept at the science museum last year when I was in the sixth grade. It was awesome. Everyone from my school was sleeping at 2 in the morning but me and my friend were just walking around and looking out the windows because theres a big window that has an awesome view of the Boston Harbor and the city =]

  8. hm.
    the english teacher I had my junior year has this bumper sticker that becomes my motto in situations like these: Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.

  9. If someone is cutting themselves, it’s because they are depressed. Netta-la, is your friend depressed over a divorce? Is that what you said? What you can do is tell your parents about her problem. They will hopefully be understanding, and maybe you can have your friend stay the night at your house a lot. She needs to be in a positive atmosphere, and not have the extra time to do something stupid like cutting. She needs to take her mind off of it, and realize that it is NOT her fault. If parents divorce, it’s because either one is doing something hurtful to the other, or they are both too selfish to work it out and change. NEVER is it the child. Never. She needs to know that.

    Just be upbeat, and there for her. Talk with her about stuff. Don’t be afraid to open up and bawl your eyes out. Making yourself vulnerable is the only way for things to be fixed, help her see that you are her friend and love her.

    That’s all I can offer. I don’t have any cutting friends, or I would be able to help more. 🙁

  10. And yes, middle-schoolers are INSANE. It’s that age. The joy of puberty. If you can survive eighth grade, you can survive ANYTHING. ^_^ I swear it gets better in High School.

  11. I JUST finished reading this book, like, five minutes ago. I think it’s a good book that should not be banned. And it’s really good writing, ’cause it made me cry. Seriously, it’s the second book I’ve ever read that’s made me cry. (Only two books, two movies, and one play have ever made me cry, in case you’re interested.) I’m mad. Grrr!!! CENSORSHIP IS BAD!!!!!!
    (ok, i’m done now. had to get that out of my system.)

  12. What do Stalin, Hitler, and crazy Christian Parents all have in common?

    I think you all know the answer to that one.

    Because I’d totally make the Top 100.

  13. Netty-la and Bran-la, for one thing, you can stop calling depressed people ’emo’. Stop trivializing their problems by calling them “crazy emos”. It doesn’t help them one bit and makes you sound like a judgmental idiot.

  14. Totally. I agree. There are a difference between depressed people and emo people. Emo people choose to be emo because they are melodramatic teenagers who have no better way to express themselves than to listen to underground music, conform to their nonconformist standards, dress in black, and not wash their hair.

    Depressed people are mentally ill and are usually not obvious in any way about their current state of health. They do inexplicable things to themselves because they’re seriously hurting inside and have no outlets. You can’t ever tell if someone is depressed. Unless you can read minds. But that would kind of get annoying after awhile.

    Btw, does anyone have any idea why I’m discussing depression on a blog post regarding people afraid of Alaska? I don’t. Oh well. I just figured I’d come in and set something straight. I’m not the kind of person to keep silent about my opinions.

    Because I’d totally make the top 100. 😉

  15. WE always get off the actually topic of the blog in these comments. Tis funny.

    Not all emo’s are depressed. But i dont think its fair to call them ‘melodramatic teenagers who have no better way to express themselves than to listen to underground music, conform to their nonconformist standards, dress in black, and not wash their hair.’ cause to be honest, thats not true at all. Emo is just a click, like Chavs or Goths or anything like that. Sure they were black, listen to a certain type of music. Not all emo’s are depressed though. Sure they may get depressed, but who doesnt?

    Labelling is bull-hockey to be honest, but everyone does it. I do it, but i try not to as much as possible. Its generally only Plastics as i like to call them, and i do call people Chavs sometimes, but thats only cause of the way they ACT, not the way they dress.

    Now. Back to Looking For Alaska. Is it a good book? I may read it..


  16. you must’ve said something bad, otherwise why would they moderate it?

    I said bullshizz…not that EXACTLY but you get me 😛

    GOSH. No one is noline, but then again, in America Land its like 2am 😛


  17. All I put was links to websites that describe the Uglies movie. Someone asked and I am always here to help. haha

  18. yeah all this talk about suicidal friends is really sad: i have this friend whos been my BFF since 3rd grade (now we’re freshmen) and she never really got along well with people, but shes a totally awesome person!! and this year i found out that her parent’s marriage sucks, and in ’07 her cat died on her birthday and her other kitten just died this Jan. She’s really depressed and she WONT talk about it…my friends and i have tried to help her but shes so bad, i dont know how its going :'(

  19. Woah, I’ve got to totaly say how much I’m in love with you and John for talking about that. I’m totaly glad that I read this since I’ve got a term paper I’m writing and amazingly enough I wanted to make it on book bannings. Soooo, basically you two are going to get put into my term paper. Anywhoo, I’m totaly obsessing over your books, and basically forcing all my friends to read it. In fact there was this teacher at barnes & noble that happen to ask me for suggestions about books that her students might acctually read and I basically pointed out everything you wrote.
    Whoo! I got back onto blogg related comments.
    And wait, there’s a possible Uglies movie? Say what now?
    I’ll have to google this.

  20. Tee-la do we have the same friend. Your story sounds almost the same as the one I have. Its very sad that a lot of people in this world want to kills themsleves.

  21. Book banners just aren’t smart. Why do they have to control what we read? If the parents, students, and teachers agree that it’s fine, then it is. It just bothers me that anything they don’t think is innocent enough for teens they automatically shut it down without actually thinking about it. They think that hearing about something makes kids want to do it. Well it’s completely untrue. x(

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