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Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Several of you have been asking about Bartlesville and the banning, requesting an update. You ask—and I answer!

It starts with a confession, which is this: I started to get a bit down about Bartlesville. I got many notes of support. (Many, many, many . . . and thank you to everyone who wrote one.) But I also got a few notes—some very long ones—that said, “What right do you have to meddle in the affairs of Oklahoma?” This seemed to imply that Oklahoma was some strange, distant land that I couldn’t possibly understand—a land that makes its own rules.

I felt like I was coming to a point where had just had it. Why was I even bothering with this? Why did I care about three or four copies of a book in a town I’d never been to? I’d given a donation to the library and sent more to the school. What more could I do?

“Do what you want,” I grumbled for a day or two. “Ban everything in sight. What could go wrong?”

I told my friends that I was sick to death of it. I buckled down on my revisions and all the reading I had to catch up on. I ripped out pictures of my dream Vespa and stun gun and put them on my wall for motivation. I tried to figure out if Free Monkey was really an ape. I kicked a can across the street for no reason.

I was, as you can tell, grouchy.

And then, the very next morning, I got an e-mail from a Bartlesville resident who was disgusted by the banning about an article that had just appeared in the paper. She was sick by what was happening in her town and asked me to post it.

Once I read the article, I was back on track. It was a shot in the arm.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to read the whole thing, here are what I consider to be the important bits. These are quotes from Angela Rader, the parent who made the initial complaint (you know, that the book that had no sex in it was a “sexual free-for-all” and that all the copies should be replaced with Bibles):

“I am so ecstatic that the parents have control over what goes into their children’s eyes,” Rader says.

[Me: “Into their children’s eyes”? Like mud? Like a stick? Like a white-hot poker? I know . . . I’m just being difficult.]

“I’m proud of the superintendent and the committee. I’m glad that I accomplished what I set out to do.”

Rader says there may be other books that need to be reviewed.

“For them to create that shelf, they had to know there were books that needed to be on it,” Rader said, adding that she hopes school officials review other books to find any others that may fall under the same category.

“Is she really suggesting some kind of book hunt?” I asked myself. It certainly seems that way.

Because of her success with this book, Rader says she wants to get the Bible back into schools in a history and literature class.

“And I’m working on that because I think it’s important for our kids to know where they came from,” Rader says. “I think the Bible’s a good foundation for our school. I think we’re way far from it and our kids are suffering.”

Actually . . . I have no problem with this. I mean, reading the Bible in terms of literature and history. This is quite sensible. I did it in school. The Bible is referenced in lots of literature, and it’s one of the world’s most famous books.

Speaking as someone who had to read the Bible front to back four times in school, and since the objection here seems to be homosexuality, I can tell you this . . . I didn’t walk away thinking that the story of Sodom and Gomorrah was about homosexuality. I was actually taught—by a religious order—that it was about lack of hospitality in the desert. The Bible helps us out with this one: "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." (Ezekiel 16:49)

And the image of righteous Lot offering his daughters up to be raped by strangers isn’t one that will leave you quickly. Whenever people reference that story . . . I tend to think that they actually haven’t read it, or they didn’t quite grasp the implications. So read it! Also, leaning about world religions is a good idea! Read the Bible, read the Koran too! Read about all kinds of religions! A broad religious education can only help us understand the crazy world we live in, and maybe we can actually get to the bottom of our problems, instead of just blowing each other up all the time.

You know what the really sad part is? By mentioning other religions, some people will automatically think I am being sarcastic. The mere idea of reading about other religions is anathema to them.

“Oh, oh dearie me,” as Lily Allen says.

But I’m just delaying the payoff . . . the money quote. She goes on to say:

“Promoting righteousness, like having this book taken from everybody, is a step in the right direction.”

Oh. Wow. This is a fascinating glimpse into the mindset of book banning. This quote needs no deconstruction. It is perfect. It is the Hope Diamond of confused sentiments. There is only one person I can think of who could do better.

Give it your best shot, Flanders!

What’s great about America is that everyone, including Ms. Rader, can express her beliefs. Do you want to translate concepts like this directly into public policy? Apparently, some people do in Bartlesville!

But not all. Certainly not all.

I take up the rest of the article—and it’s all stuff that, if you’ve ever been here before, you’ve already read in some form or other. I do take issue with the fact that Ms. Rader thinks she won. I believe exactly what I said to the reporter . . . that the special shelf was a concession to make everyone shut up, including her. The book is not taken away from everybody. It’s just been put in a corner where you need a special slip to read it. Which is still bonkers. It’s just let’s-be-quasi-nice-to-the-kinda-crazy-lady-so-she-doesn’t-bite-into-our-heads-like-they-are-juicy-peaches local politics. And I still say boo to it. Boo!

Then my friend Libba Bray posted this on her blog. (Note to anyone who thinks I am a handful: do not mess with Libba. I am not kidding. Also, Libba fans who may have come here from there . . . I have read A Sweet, Far Thing, and I will tell you this: IT IS THE BEST BOOK OUT OF THE THREE. Again, no kidding.)

Now, as to what can be done . . .

In looking more into this matter (including speaking to anti-censorship king Chris Crutcher), really, Bartlesville has to fix Bartlesville. But nothing prevents me from talking about it and making the issues known. Or dancing about it, for that matter.

If you live in or around Bartlesville, and if you oppose book banning, here are some people to contact:

The Bartlesville school board are the elected officials in charge of your local schools. Here are a list of their names and e-mail addresses, as well as a list of public meetings, and information on how you can speak at a public meeting. Why not pay them a visit or drop them a line? As local public officials, they’ll want to know what you have to say about this.

If you are a student anywhere in the USA, here is a document from the American Library Association explaining your rights—including your right to read.

And for someone feeling really ambitious and up-in-arms, here is information from the Oklahoma ACLU on how you can try to start a case to get that special shelf taken down, and restore the rights of the students. I can’t start this case . . . but one of you can.

I’ve also been (tentatively) invited to Bartlesville. I’m told that some people don’t want me there. I’m even told that some people might try to block it. To those people: what precisely are you worried about? I am possibly the least threatening person I know, with the possible exception of a few very small children I’ve met.

Come on, guys. Lighten up! Maybe I can even bring some friends! I have great friends!

I give hugs!

What do you guys think of all this? Know anyone in town?


One commenter wrote:

Anonymous said...
I have sent an e-mail to the V.P. of the Bartlesville School Board, saying that I don't believe in censorship. I believe that I made an interesting point: homosexuals were persecuted in the Holocaust right along with Jews and the mentally retarded. Is the next book on the "special shelf" going to be the Diray of Anne Frank?

Thanks to Oklahoma librarian Adri . . . we have an answer.

To the person asking if the Diary of Anne Frank is next -- it already was challenged in Oklahoma in 2006 for "promoting Judaism"

Labels: , ,


Anonymous reese said...

I hate that that school banned your book. Because of it my friends and I have started speaking up against censorship in our town.

5:33 PM  
Blogger Tobias said...

Now I'm not a big fan of religions in general, but when I read that article I was completely stumped. What the hell is that woman thinking? She apparently wants her children to grow up to be narrow-minded.

And I think you read that correctly Maureen, she's planning a book-hunt. Now the Netherlands might not be perfect, but things like that would never happen here (except maybe on some uber-religious schools we have here).

So much for the freedom that America is preaching all over world....

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Jas said...

I read the article before your post, so I had already chosen my favorite quote:
“Promoting righteousness, like having this book taken from everybody, is a step in the right direction.”
Which you mentioned, of course, because of its perfect ludicrousy (ludicrousness? lunacy.)
So, if I really want to promote righteousness, I should put forth the Bible for banning, right?
I mean, I kinda consider violent and vengeful death carried out by a merciful god to be a little more serious than portraying homosexuality as natural. You know, just a teensy bit.
Seriously, though, I'm all for reading the Bible in a literary context. It's especially interesting to compare Jesus to some of the older religious figures in (le gasp!) Norse mythology and such.
Maybe it's just because I read a lot, but I think that high schoolers can handle reading about the process of growing up and discovering yourself. And if they're homophobic, they don'thave to read it (although I would reccomend it more readily if they are). The description's on the back, people.
And, contrary to popular belief, we teens have brains. They're still developing and sometimes encumbered by way too much alcohol, but they're there. Let us use them.
Sorry, rant over.
I know you know all this, but it's nice to get it off my chest once in a while.
I hope they do let you into Bartlesville. Half of those people seem like they need a BIG hug. The rib-crushing, lung-collapsing kind. In all kindness, of course.

5:56 PM  
Anonymous Jas said...

Wow. I think that's the longest comment I've ever left.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Asha said...

if you go to Bartelsville you should visit Ninja librarian Susan.

6:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, someone is pretty self-satisfied, huh? I say you go there and pack your num-chucks (however you spell those cool things my 4-year-old son says he's getting when he's ten!) That woman's comments made my skin crawl. Uck.

6:15 PM  
Anonymous Enraged Libba-Fan said...

I'll admit that I have never been near Oklahoma, or ever read any of your books (Sorry. Libba pointed her blog readers over here, and by the way, I'm so jealous you've read TSFT), but I am completely outraged that they had the gall to censor your book, any book!! It's completely against democracy and freedom of press. We have the right to read whatever we please, and the students there should protest. I almost wish I went to school there, just so I could protest with them. This makes me so mad.
Sure, I'm still in high school, but I'm not going to take this lying down, and I hope no one else here does either.
Just because of this, I think I'll pick up The Bermudez Triangle next time I see it.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Krissi said...

You definately have to go to Bartlesville. How are they going to stop you? Link arms along the town boundary? Run through them with a pink Vespa!

But seriously, these people need to be sent a message. I wish I lived there so that I could plaster the town with posters and such so that people will understand what is going on.

Honestly, do they not like their rights? Do they not like their freedoms? It makes one ponder...

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Caroline said...

I really pity people like Ms. Rader. Really. It's sad how totally convinced they are that they are protecting their children when they do things like ban books. They seem to have it in their heads that we are incapable of intelligent thought. No one knows a teen better than themselves. If a kid thinks they're ready to read about something, they probably are.

I bought The Bermudez Triangle last summer so I'd have something to read at my uncle's house while he and my mother went through my late aunt's things. Even today I find myself relating to the book in different ways.

Good luck in Bartlesville. We're all rooting for you.

P.S.; You read The Sweet Far Thing?! *dies of jealousy*

6:25 PM  
Anonymous Jennie said...

Things like this have never made me more happy to live in a liberal college town, just chock full of wonderful open minded people. I just finished your book a few weeks ago. It was brought to my attention by your troubles and then a friend of mine encouraged me to read it. I loved it. We need to keep helping you fight the good fight, not just for future generations but for ourselves too. It feels like America has been taking huge steps backwards in recent years. . and we shouldn't stand for that!

and I'm jealous that you've already read TSFT!

6:28 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Yes, I agree--it would be a great idea if we could learn about all religions in school, completely objectively of course. I'm not a very religious person myself--I still have yet to decide what I want to follow since my father is Roman Catholic (kind of. Not really. He doesn't even go to church.) and my mother is Buddhist. But learning about different religions, and different cultures, would really help us understand other people in the world. I'm not trying to offend anyone here, but I've kind of noticed that only Christians--and very zealous ones at that--care very much about this sort of thing. I have a feeling this Mrs. Rader character would go ballistic if anyone ever mentioned to her that other people in the world practice a religion other than hers...

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Maureen,

I wanted to let you know that I just read Bermudez Triangle for the first time and I think its one of the most honest and realistic books I’ve read on how complicated sexuality can really be. I wish this book had been around when I was in high school and I can’t tell you how furious it makes me to see what’s going on in Bartlesville, but I take comfort in knowing that despite anyone’s efforts to censor this away, teenagers will always find a way to get their hands on what really speaks to them. Good luck!

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
-George Orwell

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Oh. My. Goo.

“Promoting righteousness, like having this book taken from everybody, is a step in the right direction.”

Are you freakin' kidding me? I don't even know what to say to that. How far is this woman planning to go with this? I mean seriously, I'm sure a lot of things I have read, do read, and support probably wouldn't please this woman very much. I'm surprised that there isn't some article abot this woman running like a madperson on crack through their public library and ripping things down off the shelves. She's getting this worked up about something as innocent as this... and she doesn't have a thing to say if, say perhaps, her kid were to grab some Avon romance off the shelf and read a THOROUGHLY descriptive sequence of a rugged man doing all sorts of um...things to his lover?

So what if her daughter was reading something other than the bible? What if she WAS reading the Koran? Or something on Wicca? Or the Book of Mormon?

If she decides that a bible deserves a place in the library, then I say the rest of these deserve a place. I'm AMERICAN. Stop trying to take away my freedom to read. It pisses me off.

8:43 PM  
Blogger JohnC said...

It has been a while since I've read the Bible, but I don't recall Jesus doing a whole lot of censoring or banning. It seems to me that He was pretty comfortable with people making their own informed decisions.

9:19 PM  
Anonymous Nicole said...

I too was sent over here from Libba Bray's blog (and am also amazingly jealous that you've read ASFT) and I just wanted to let you know that I am behind you and everyone else who has their work banned. I think it's horrible that some parents want to limit what their children see and read. I have a three year old and I look forward to him being a bit older so that he can experience all this world has to offer for himself (the good, the bad and the in between). All that these narrow-minded book-banning people are doing is convincing people like me to run out and read the offending material. And I will definitely be reading Bermudez Triangle. Good luck to you!!

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Raelyn said...

So basically, this Ms. Stalin - I mean, Ms. Crazylady - I mean, oh shucks, Ms. Rader (how could I have ever gotten so confused?)- scares the crap out of me. I can tolerate other people's beliefs/values even if I do not agree with them, but I find it hard to tolerate them when they're being Nazis about it. Honestly, you'd think Ms. Righteous Rader of all people would know to "treat other people how you would like to be treated." In other words, treating them and their ideas with a little RESPECT.

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Maureen,
I arrived here via Neil Gaiman, and I've never read any of your books (sorry). I have been following the whole thing all the way from my computer in Israel... I'm totally with you. I'm a little scared to even read the article (as these things tend to annoy me to hell). I'm hoping that this struggle won't be in vain, and if I could, I would have flown right now to OK and beat Ms. what's her name on the head (or at least try to beat some sense into her - though I doubt it'll work).
Hang in there!

10:06 PM  
Anonymous Yaron said...

That women is nuts.
That town and school are nuts for supporting her. Well, the parts that support her, or even try to appease her, are.

Good to know everyone in the US still wants to answer to the "land of the free" slogan.

Someone should tell her that right there in the bible David calls Shaul and Jonathan lovers, and talks about how Jonathan's love felt better to him than the love of women. Maybe she should get the bible removed to the special shelf as well.
That would be quite a selection there. A shelf for The Bible, and The Bermudez Triangle.

Oh, and Confucius' writings aren't really religious. More like Philosophy. I start to think you actually haven't read it, or haven't fully grasped the implications. ;-)

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Yaron said...

Wow, two Israelis commenting at the same time (Though at least this one did read some of your books).

You've gone international here.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

My theology class studied the story of Sodom and Gomorrah last year. Upon reading Lot's offer to the townsfolk, I remember thinking, "Holy crap. What the *$%^$!#." Normally those kind of people would be told how their crops would fail or their families would fall ill by the "holy beings" to shut them up, not be offered substitutes!
I can understand having a class about religions because I take one, but to place the Bible on a public school shelf to replace a book mainly about friendship? There is something wrong with that logic. By the way this woman talks about replacing The Bermudez Triangle with the Bible, she apparently hasn't fully read about Jacob's deceptions (tricking Isaac into giving him Esau's blessing and tricking Esau out of his birthright) or "righteous" David (how he ordered the death of Uriah to hide Bathsheba's pregnancy).
Lessons can be learned from both books, but only if you read them entirely. That seems to be the one thing no one in Bartlesville is doing.

12:09 AM  
Anonymous berryglasses said...

Hi, I'm am one of the Libba fans who was linked here by her last entry. I'm not very eloquent, but I will say that I think you're a very strong person for putting up with all of this, as my approach would probably be yellling a great big F*** YOU in the faces that apply. Keep fighting the good fight!

PS: I am jealous beyond belief that you got to read TSFT.;)

12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG. this thing is so...so...insane. isn't this like, discrimination or something?? you know, discrimination against homosexual people? ok, i am a teenager, and i hear people in my school everday going "God, don't be such a homo." I mean, these are younger kids, KIDS, discriminating against people's choice of who to date and carry on a relationship with. what is wrong with this picture??! and this is taking place for a middle and high school? i could understand it if it was an elementary school or something, but not high school. *breathes*...ok, i'm done with my tirade.

PS- Ms. Johnson, you are SO lucky for getting to read TSFT!! do kartik and Gemma stay together?? i want them to so bad...

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Ashley said...

You are absolutely right about encouraging people to understand religions, and that woman makes me feel nauseous. She is the stereotypes that make foreign countries hate Americans.

Personally, I have not read the whole Bible, but I've read quite a bit, and I got a free copy of the Koran from the Islamic Students Organization on my campus and have been making my way through that too. It's the best way to understand.

KEEP FIGHTING!!! we've got your back!

2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have sent an e-mail to the V.P. of the Bartlesville School Board, saying that I don't believe in censorship. I believe that I made an interesting point: homosexuals were persecuted in the Holocaust right along with Jews and the mentally retarded. Is the next book on the "special shelf" going to be the Diray of Anne Frank?

2:50 AM  
Anonymous sockmonster sarai said...

OMG! That woman is a librocidal maniac! I am so glad I don't live in Bartlesville; the close-minded, righteousness of Ms. Rader and Co is scary. Beings how I'm pro tolerance and pagan to boot, I'd be afraid to express my views. I'm torn between suggesting that we all go there for a dance-a-thon or boycotting anything and everything Bartlesville. The less rational side of me wants to slap her silly for her fatuous, self congratulatory comments about forcing every one else's child to follow her petty little prejudices when it comes to reading. Bartlesville-ians, you need to stand up for your right to intellectual freedom.

4:03 AM  
Blogger A Paperback Writer said...

Okay, I'm rather a new fan of yours, Maureen. I picked up Devilish in the library a few months ago, liked it enough to go buy it, and bought 13 Little Blue Envelopes as well. I have not yet read Bermudez Triangle, but it's obviously time I did.
I've been following this banning story with interest, however, and tonight I just got a good idea.
I'm a junior high school teacher, and our school's academic team (which I coach) has researched the topics of banned books several times. Maybe this is the year I need to add a special "banned books" list to my reading list and offer special discussion groups for kids who wish to read them. Sure, I'll have a few parents coming unglued over certain books, but kids need to know about why banning books is scary, and reading banned books is a good place to start.
Hmmm.... this is an idea just starting to gel in my mind.
In the meantime, I really need to read your book.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Rebecca (becs) said...

Er....sorry, but how exactly could they stop you from coming to Bartlesville? Can they ban you from buying a plane ticket to Oklahoma? Seriously. You should go. We already know there are people there who support you. They'll welcome you, and I don't see why you need anything else. The fact that someone would have the gall to try to prevent you from coming.... *shakes head* Although, given that all this is even an issue, I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised.

I have nothing against learning about religions, but Angela Rader seems to be saying that the Bible is the only religion worth learning about (and believing in). Of course she doesn't say a thing about studying other religious texts. She's not interested in adding the Bible to the curriculum for literary and historical purposes. She just wants to enforce her beliefs on everyone else, b/c she's decided those beliefs are the "right" ones. Bullshit, I say. RAR.

Maureen, why is it that you can't file the complaint? Is there something about how it has to be someone who isn't directly involved? Seems weird.

"And, contrary to popular belief, we teens have brains."

Amen to that.

7:44 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

I tried to copy and paste the comment I left on the newspaper's website, but it didn't work. Here's the short of it...

I wonder if perhaps Ms. Rader's fear has less to do with Maureen's book a fear that she can't control what her child is reading.

(Completely off topic, the word verification letters were pgmycu. So now I keep thinking, "Pygmy, I see you.")

9:07 AM  
Blogger Trish said...

Ack. I left out the word than. I hate when that happens.

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Adri said...

To the person asking if the Diary of Anne Frank is next -- it already was challenged in Oklahoma in 2006 for "promoting Judaism" http://www.oklibs.org/ifc/2006.html

You can see a list of challenges that have been reported to the state library assocation
at http://www.oklibs.org/ifc/data.html

4:32 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

It just makes me sick that a total nutjob like Ms. Radar can get a special shelf put up. We had book challenges all the time in the school I worked at. Not a single one was ever taken seriously because they were all just as nutty as this one. It's a sad day when the people responsible for the education of the whole town kowtow to one woman with an agenda that is not good for everyone.

I went to college in B'ville and know lots of people there. I can almost guarantee that the education department at the local Christian college would be totally opposed to this book banning (though they have really Christian-upped since I went to school there so maybe the wind is blowing another day). It wouldn't hurt to contact the Oklahoma Wesleyan University education department and ask if they would like you to speak to their Childrens Lit class (if you get to go there at all).

B'ville is a bastion of religion so you will surely find people who hate you. There are also a lovely bunch of people who would welcome you. I hope this is resolved in the students' favor soon. It is absurd it has gone this far. The good news is your book has a lot more publicity! I'd never heard of you or the Green brothers until Gaiman posted about this (I am currently obsessed with Brotherhood 2.0, though that obsession came after the Deathly Hallows video).

4:53 PM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I keep meaning to ask, is the book just banned. . errr. . on the special shelf. . . at the Mid High or at both the Mid High and High School?

5:11 PM  
Anonymous Judy said...

The problem with all this is the fact that for every "victory" this woman has in Oklahoma, it starts setting what is called a "precedent" that other schools and other states can use in court to start making what they are trying to do legal. It is EVERYONE'S business what is happening in Oklahoma. If we let this go because it is not in our state, or not in our school, it will start to spread like a cancer and affect ALL OF US no matter where in this country we are. That is how the legal system works. Censorship must be fought while it is still small enough to put out the fire.

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ROCK!!
Keep Fighting!!!!!!!!!!!
Ms. Radar doesn't have a functioning brain!! Teens can think for themselves, thank you very much!!

If I lived in Oklahoma, I would be kicking some serious censorship butt. There are way racier books out there than The Bermudez Triangle.

You have my support, 110%

(And I am so jealous that you read TSFT)

6:17 PM  
Anonymous Brianna said...

As a high school student myself, I cant see where banning a book is going to stop anything. My friends and I found out about it thru Libba's blog and I had read it already so its making the rounds thru my friends. I thought the book was a frank and truthfull look at teenage love and confusion and stuff we go thru every day. It was nice to see it is something that is out for viewing and not kept in some dark room, locked away. I think they are just using the book to poke holes in society and its sad they used yours. Keep up the good fight and Im behind you all the way!!

8:10 PM  
Blogger A Paperback Writer said...

As Brianna has just said, one of the best ways to get kids to read something is to tell them they can't. I am smiling.
Yes, Maureen, I think you should go to this place and speak to any supportive group. I bet a local, independent bookstore would be happy to have you in for a reading/signing. Have a party. Be positive. Talk about the book (and your others). Don't even mention the censorship if you can help it; just fight fire with a distraction. Let curious people come and see that you're about good writing, not distributing child-porn or whatever it is they think you're doing.
Go online to the ALA website about banned books and find you've got lots of company: everyone from Shakespeare to Rowling and the Bible itself. See if you can turn this nastiness into something positive to encourage kids (and maybe a few adults, too) to read and decide for themselves what they like and don't like and WHY. The WHY is so important. So many people only like or don't like something because someone else said so. Maybe if you could speak to a group in this town, people would start thinking.
I live in Salt Lake City, a highly conservative place. But we have The King's English Bookstore that loves to have readings by all kinds of authors. They love to get people thinking. Sure, they've had Shannon Hale and Stephenie Meyers, who aren't particulary controversial. But they've had Pat Bagley with his series of Clueless George books, all of which make fun of George Bush throughout. They'd love you.
Surely there must be a bookstore like that in Oklahoma. Hey, if Utah can manage a little literary diversity, then Oklahoma can.
Good luck.

word verification: kilty
sounds like a good scotophile word to me

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I already posted my opinion on this certain subject--and on Libba Bray's LJ as well--and i just wanted to say, that my friends and i are now going to be reading The Burmedez Triangle. ...this is absolutely insane. *breathes in and out*

PS- Ms. Johnson, I just finished reading Girl At Sea, and thought it was really good!

10:31 PM  
Anonymous Keisha said...

The Diary of Anne Frank was challenged for promoting Judaism?????!!! I have no words to describe how angry this makes me. Wait, yes I do have several words, but I will not post them here.

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Yaron said...

1. The diary of Anne Frank does not really promote Judaism.

2. Wait, promoting religion is forbidden in Oklahoma? Because they have this books called the "Bible" which heavily promotes Christinanity. They should ban it.

3. Actually, come to think of it, I can't think of any book promoting Judaism more than the Bible. That's pretty much what the whole "Old Testament" part is all about. I guess they should really ban it.


1:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Anne Frank promotes Judaism? Well, what about this Rader woman, promoting stupidity every time she opens her mouth?

Now, I say this without meaning to sound like a suckup (but I probably will anyway). The Bermudez Triangle is one of the finest teen novels ever, and it is a huge deprivation to the kids to make it harder for them to read by putting it on the special shelf.

On another note, I think you should definitely go to Bartlesville. Come on now. Who doesn't want a hug? If anyone can warm Ms. Rader's cold, cold heart, it's you. And Free Monkey, of course. Musn't forget Free Monkey.

6:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay...not to sound strange, but there happen to be a lot of gay people in my school, and in our school newspaper it says that they shouldn't have to hide that and that it is their choice to be that way. we see it in our daily lives, so why should it not be read in a book? I love reading and i know a lot of people who do. I think it is stupid to deprive people especially young adults of reading a book just because of something like that.

1:47 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Hi, Maureen, I found you a while back through the Brothers Green, but I don't think I've commented here before. Just want you to know that this future YA librarian supports you! I read Bermudez Triangle this summer and loved it. And as a future librarian, nothing frustrates me more than to see libraries forced to cave to the restrictive views of people like this.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

I was annoyed that I couldn't really do much right now to help fight this, so I tried to come up with ideas. I figured that, if they're going to censor it in one school library, I can at the very least try to expose more kids to it at another. So I went to my high school's library and requested The Bermudez Triangle, which they are now ordering. I plan to put it out where a lot of people will see it once it arrives. :-)

2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, I’m Aimee, I've been lurking on your blog for quite some time. I read some author blogs regularly and can't quite recall which directed me here, but it was at the beginning of this whole battle and I've been reading your blog since then. I am a teen, and I haven't read a single book of yours (nothing at all personal, that’s just how it worked out, I s’pose). However. I just want to let you know that I glow with appreciation when I read posts like this. Thank you for keeping your readers updated and educated, and doing so intelligently. I read comments from teens telling you that they're looking into censorship issues in their own community, and that is a wonderful thing. Please don't stop fighting. This is important. A small victory is a victory still. I could elaborate, but a passionate essay on Why American Culture Sometimes Scares Me might run a little long for a comment. Point being: thank you, I respect you immensely for your efforts, and the next time I’m not completely broke I will be purchasing Bermudez. (Vespas are fun. You deserve one.) Cheers and be well.

7:44 AM  
Blogger S said...

"Promoting Judaism"? That is just ridiculous. I can't even respond to that.

1:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, Maureen.

I did come to this blog from Libba's blog, so THANKS for the sorta-info about TSFT!

Anyway, I think censoring books is really kind of stupid. I mean, yes, there are some things that need to be censored, but as Libba said, kids will censor things themselves. This is why I put down Speak- it made me physically ill and I knew if I read more I wouldn't be able to handle it.

And the Bible comment from Ms. rader- I wouldn't mind reading the Bible in school. But it seems to me as if she's suggesting that ALL students read the Bible, and nothing else. Does she think everyone is Christian in our schools? What about the Jewish students? What about the Muslim students? If we read the Bible, we should read the other books, as well. I mean, I don't believe in evolution- I believe in Creationism, yet we study evolution in school and I have to deal with it. It's interesting, just not what I believe. So I'd be happy to read the Koran or another religion's documents. It broadens your horizons.

Rachel D.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok. My name is Jessica, and I've read your book. I found nothing wrong with it. It was a great book.
This may be off topic, but I was over at my friends house and we got on the topic of when we'd have kids and if our kids were gay, what we'd do. I said I'd be fine, shocked maybe, but fine. I'd still love them. And she looked at me like I was insane. She told me if one of her kids were gay she'd disown them. I felt like slapping her.
I think it's wrong how people treat gays and the whole it being a sin just cause the bible says so is stupid. I belive that God loves us no matter what. I go to a christian camp, and they made a big point about us being created in God's image. And if we're gay or Bi isn't that part of our image too?
It all makes me so angry. How can our world be so screwed up, that people will bash someone or ban a book for being gay or bi or even just having content that deals with that.

1:04 AM  
Anonymous Char said...

Dear Ms. Johnson,

I must confess that I have been turned in direction to this blog through Libba. I have not read 'The Bermudez Triangle', but it is now definitely on my 'Must Do Immediately' list. I find it deeply unnerving and also slightly frightening that people such as this 'Rader' are still out there in the world trying to control other breathing, living, human beings.

As a Canadian, we hear a lot up here about the craaaazy, frighteningly religious Southern Americans. But still, they're up here in the Great White North as well, (you can't escape them, they're like cockroaches, infesting everything). Just this year my cousins started attending a Christian High School. My paternal family has always been Evangelical, but my cousins had never been nearly as extreme about religion as they are until this year. When I mentioned to my eleven year old cousin that I have homosexual friends, she responded with, and I quote, 'Ew, gay people!'. It's people like Rader and the ones teaching at my cousins school that have driven my generation into a state of hate and fear. My cousin is eleven years old and has never met a homosexual person. She's being pumped full of hate towards a minority she has no experience/quarrel with. Um, Hitler anyone? I know that it's risky bringing up someone as taboo as Hitler, but we can only learn from our mistakes and I think it's time we stopped shoving history under the rug. Not only is there censorship of art going on all around us, there is, as korny as it sounds, censorship of love. We're being taught that people are evil and will be punished for things we don't understand, which I find much more frightening than having someone meet me then later tell me I'm going to Hell or am going to be punished some other way for my evil ways. Are people really so gullible?

3:31 AM  
Anonymous Marty said...

Umm, "promoting Judaism" is a reason to have a book removed? What if I said I wanted to have the bible removed because it promotes Christianity? Besides, The Diary of Anne Frank has confirmed historical significance. It's about someone we are absolutely sure existed and about an event that we are sure happened. Not that the events in the the bible are fiction. And just because there are homosexual characters in a book is absolutely no reason whatsoever to remove them. Homosexuality is not a virus, it's not wrong, it's not unsanitary, and it is not rated M.

4:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sending a letter to them concerning all this. However, I've got a feeling they might not listen.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Gaby (Go Israel!) said...

This article has made me sick. Especially that Anne Frank has been challenged for "promoting Judaism" as a jewish girl i had hoped that the world had grown since the haulaucaust but i suppose not.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who say that they would be "kicking ass" over this issue if they lived in Bartlesville, I remind you that you do not live here. I do. I think that it is ridiculous that the book was banned and is still semi-banned. However, I have a great job among many extreme conservatives. A person here could possibly lose their promotability by showing up on the record against the book banning. Small-town social pressure can be incredible.

For example, someone at work the other day was AMAZED that I was not terrified of Obama. The question was not even around support for Obama because *obviously* that would be out of the question.

The sad thing is that the whole scandal makes it more difficult to attract bright, intelligent people to town. And it may even impact the ability to keep bright, intelligent people in Bartlesville. In fact, this is the straw that broke camel's back for my wife and me. Between the two of us, three MS degrees have started looking for a job out of town. Leaving Bartlesville will probably reduce our standard of living because income to cost here is amazing, but at least I won't have to bite my tongue daily to conservative bigotry that I must endure. Unfortunately, my attitude to leave rather than enact change (like many people who leave) may leave Oklahoma as a backwater, but on the other hand I think this is what many people such as Mrs. Rader would prefer.

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