Thursday, July 28, 2011
AMERICUS by M.K. Reed and Jonathan Hill (First Second Books, August 2011) is a graphic novel about censorship. Neil is a middle school student who somehow manages to tolerate the bullying and teasing. His friendship with Danny helps a lot. So does their mutual love of a series of fantasy novels they both have read over and over again. And then Danny is shipped off to military school when he announces to his fundamentalist parents that he is gay. Next, Danny's mother spearheads a campaign to rid the library of the series Danny and Neil love. <349>
If this were not happening all over the country, someone could rightly criticize books like this for being diatribes. However, just in the past week, the same three books that caused a stir in the fall are once again on the chopping block: SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE, SPEAK, and TWENTY BOY SUMMER. Two of the three board members voting against the books admitted they had not read them. So, how far away from the truth is this piece of fiction. Pair this with the GN version of Bradbury's FAHRENHEIT 451 for the beginning of a ladder on censorship. Add in THE SLEDDING HILL, MEMOIRS OF A BOOKBAT, and THE LAST SAFE PLACE ON EARTH for a start.