• Never let the bullies win!

    03 February 2012

    I received the following email from a librarian in Wyoming today:

     

    Our school is currently considered junior high school grades 7-9, but next year we will have only grades 7-8.  We are currently going through the process of defending your book Lord Loss to allow it to stay on our library shelves.  A parent picked up the book and looked at the cover, read the back, and immediately decided that it "promoted inappropriate values" and was not "school appropriate".  The parent filled out a form requesting that the book be removed from all our school libraries in the district.  He feels the age group for this book is "18+ out of educational system"; however, all of your books are widely enjoyed by our school population.  The first step is a meeting with the parent, principal, and librarian.  That meeting has taken place and the parent is still forging ahead with his challenge.  He questions the judgment of the librarians to have the book in the library, and he questions the reviewers summaries. Furthermore, he questions who determines you being labeled as a young adult author.  The next step in our process is to again have the parent, librarian, and principal in a meeting, but to also include a second parent and English teacher to the committee.  I am asking if you have any resources I may print out to take to our next meeting. Also, if you have anything else that you think would help support us in keeping your book on our shelves please send it to me. Thank you so much for your time and efforts.
     

    I sent the librarian some of the many hugely supportive emails that I have been sent over the years by parents, teachers and children, all of whom considered my books not only appropriate but beneficial. I hope that helps get this disruptive parent's objections overruled, not because I want to see my books stay on the shelves, but because people like this should never be given their own way. This guy is a bully, trying to force his view upon others, to make everyone toe a line of his drawing. I've no problem with parents deciding my books are not suitable for their children -- in fact I wish that more parents would spend more time keeping in touch with their child's reading habits, guiding and encourage and, where they deem necessary, censoring. But how dare someone try to decide what is suitable for other people's children?!? That's insulting and insensitive. Unfortunately, bigots like this often shout loudly and hammer away at the system, knowing that although librarians very rarely crumble, principals and local governors sometimes do. We need to fight them at every step, never let them ban a book, never let them set OUR reading agenda, never let them drag us down to their level of happy ignorance. This librarian is fighting the good fight, and if any of you ever find yourself in a similar position (whether as a parent, teacher, librarian or student) I hope that you will fight the good fight too, stand up for what you believe in, and not just slink away and let the bullies enjoy another win. No country can ever be a "land of the free" if small-minded thugs are allowed to chip away at our freedoms and force their views on the young of the community.

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  • Comments

    No Avatar Kathryn Winstanley
    04, Feb, 2012
    Hi, Darren!

    I simply can't understand how the man can judge your book when he hasn't even read it - how can he decide whether it is "suitable" when he is judging it so easily. The quote "never judge a book by its cover" comes to mind..

    From your big fan, Kathryn Winstanley :)
    No Avatar GouldPatty
    04, Feb, 2012
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    No Avatar Deanne34Holt
    04, Feb, 2012
    I do know that you did challenging search, accomplishing your masterís information about this good post. Hence, such kind of task people do completing their thesis writing and doctoral thesis researching.
    No Avatar Glasgow
    04, Feb, 2012
    This reminds me of a Nat Hentoff book, The Day They Banned The Book, which is about a parent trying to get Tom Sawyer banned from an American school. I know you will win and that Lord Loss will remain on all school shelves in America.
    No Avatar Tiffany
    04, Feb, 2012
    I also sort of question the age appropriatness, but kids will read them and thats the important part. I know way too many kids who "have better things to do than read." If you don't want your kids to read something, show them something else rather than just remove what they have.
    No Avatar Lori
    05, Feb, 2012
    What happened to "don't judge a book by the cover"?My now 19 year old son went through a rebel stage in middle school and I couldn't get him to read for anything. Saw the cover of one of your books, took it home to him and he is still reading them - and recommending them - now! He keeps track of when you have a new book coming out, so I can pre-order right away. I love your books just for that reason. You, as an awesome author, made my son the reader he is today!! Sometimes people are too quick to judge. Now my son has his 15 year old sister hooked on your books. keep up the good work!!!!
    No Avatar Sydney
    06, Feb, 2012
    who dose he think he is to just read the back and say that "it's no sutible for kids" well I've read that book at least more time than I can count, and grantit it's a little dark in the begining, and it's just as fine for kids as any other book they put in the library. we can't let people push us around like that, it makes my teeth clentch just thinking about it.
    No Avatar Victoria
    07, Feb, 2012
    Hey Darren,
    First of all, I'd like to say that I'm a hugh fan and I love you're books so much. Second of all, I think it's wrong for a parent to decide what their kids or other kids should read. This person really is a bully and I hope someone stood up to him. Finally, I think that this was a great story to share. I hope you keep writing more books
    -Victoria ;)
    No Avatar Ryan
    07, Feb, 2012
    I have been a fan of your books since they first came out. And I was young at that time.
    My mum and my step-dad, both looked at the book and didn't find a problem with it. And I am complete on your side, this guy is a 'bully'. He has not right to tell people what there children can read.
    Keep up the good fight.
    No Avatar will
    07, Feb, 2012
    Unbelievable, i am 18+ and don't read your books as much as i used to but they still occupy a lot of bookshelf. i definatly emjoyed them more whilst i was a "young adult" which is exactly the age group who should be readimg it. Some people seem to think that anything which mentions demons or is remotly "dark" is some sort of corrupting influence. Same reason a lot of heavy metal bands get a bad press.
    No Avatar Jess
    07, Feb, 2012
    Age appropriate... hmmmmm, how do we judge this in today's day and age? Grades 7-9 and Lord Loss is too mature for these kids? Now admittedly I haven't read that yet - I simply fell in love with The Saga of Darren Shan and follow you because of that. However, when I approach the school I have better things to bring to their attention, such as the drugs getting sold in the hallways of the 5th grade. Or the bullying that seems to get worse and worse. Why is this parent attacking books when we need to be looking what our kids are ACTUALLY DOING in the hallways?
    I'm having issues keeping the neighborhood 4th graders from having sex and keeping their parents informed when one of them runs away. But it's not the books that encourage this behavior... it's the parents that don't care and who raise their kids to be what they wanted to be. Maybe he should take a look at his kid's classmates and judge their age appropriate behavior.
    No Avatar Louisa
    07, Feb, 2012
    Hasn't that guy heard of 'Do not judge a book by its cover?'
    i started the demonata series when i was 12 and enjoyed it immensely! It wasnt in anyway inappopriate, in fact it gave me a greater appreciation for reading...
    No Avatar Billy McKay
    07, Feb, 2012
    Yes Darren! This guy needs to jog on! I think your brilliant & i absolutely love your books!

    cant wait for Zom-B.

    Keep up the good work!

    Billy McKay
    No Avatar Hawksathon
    07, Feb, 2012
    Your books have fictional aspects that maintain a level of reality, which provides a huge benefit to readers, keeping them aware of the non-fictional world we live in.
    No Avatar Katherine
    07, Feb, 2012
    How silly. I first started reading one of your books-the Cirque Du Freak-when I found it in my school library! It isn't fair that this person should take it off the shelves when they haven't even READ it. The great thing about your books is that they can be enjoyed by lots of age groups! If this person gets what they want, they will not only be stopping their child from having the joy of reading your books, but others too. It's not fair-I say let the kids have their say!

    At least this person proved something positive about your books-the cover was obviously very eye catching to get them to pick it up!
    From Katherine, age 15
    No Avatar George
    07, Feb, 2012
    I read your other books when i was ten. i am now 14 and still very much enjoy your books and cant wait for new ones. i can't imagine why your book should be banned for everyone when just one person objects. you huge fan, George.
    No Avatar Spreilly Reilly
    07, Feb, 2012
    It's so frustrating when people--especially parents do that. I have read all of Darren Shan's books, and I think it is safe to say that it IS appropriate for middle school and up. If it was not, then they should not have books like Twilight, Stephen King, Hunger Games, etc on the library's shelves. Sure, lots of Shan's content contains gore and violence, but don't most books nowadays do? Horror is literature whether or not adults accept it. Besides, it is not like kids HAVE to read the book--if someone is offended by it, they do not need to read it. Just because one adult does not like it, does not mean he or she should spoil it for others.
    No Avatar Lauren
    08, Feb, 2012
    I read the Demonata series when I was 8 and wasn't the least bit scared. He should take into acount that some kids like horror books and don't care if it has "adult material", which it doesn't. If it were a movie it would be PG13 and since it's a middle school, there's no problem there.
    No Avatar Kerri-Ann
    10, Feb, 2012
    I see many fans have many bright thoughts about this subject. I comment as both a fan, AND a critic. Your books are fascinating beyond all levels. Yet, they tell a deeper story about life's essentials such as friendly bonds and to never give up. There are some drug content and mild language, but nothing went overboard. The Demonata on the other hand is an interesting topic. You as a young adult author do not get into any religious topics and that's why I appreciate it. You ARE a young adult author, and you don't let anyone deprive a young adult of your books!
    Sincerely from a fan,
    Kerri-Ann Leavitt
    No Avatar shane
    10, Feb, 2012
    I think that you are completely right. Having an opinion is fine, forcing it on others isnt a way to be. I urge that this parent reads all your books and these comments. Then rethinks theyre judgement.
    PS loving all your books, any chance going for a prequel of the demonata about Beranabus
    No Avatar Razan
    12, Feb, 2012
    it's really not cool how adults judge books and keep saying it's not appropriate without even opening the book and start reading through the pages.
    I am a 13 years old girl, who is in love with Darren Shan's books! but my dad wont allow me to read his books because he "believes" i am too young to read such stories.
    so i started buying Darren's books, and hide them so my dad wont see them.
    The problem is, why wont adults read through the pages and then judge if its appropriate or not! it's not really fair, my dad also keeps on saying that girls aren't supposed to be reading those horror stories, it's not my problem that I am insanely in love with Darren Shan's writings, right?
    No Avatar patrick g
    12, Feb, 2012
    if it helps I have something that could help,since most of the characters in the books are from myths or legends dosent that make the books partly under-18 educationl
    No Avatar patrick g
    12, Feb, 2012
    first of all I'd like to say that many of the books have morals the thin executioner taught us to respect others ,koyosan and the saga taught us to be brave and blah blah blah. 2.when is the zomB series comming out 3. THE PARENT DIDN'T EVEN READ IT!
    No Avatar patrick g
    12, Feb, 2012
    how is this parent supposed to know what a book is like if she hasnt read it? ok so the scence where Grubbs parents are killed is kind of scary but it's not the excorsist!I havent seen a library without a Shan book in it so far!
    No Avatar Kerri-Ann
    13, Feb, 2012
    My heart just broke when I read that a teen girl is deprived from horror because her father says girls shouldn't read it. I'm a teen girl and I am obsessed over horror. Seriously, if horror was a person, it would be proposing to me by now. Horror IS my passion and nobody will break me away from it!
    Long live horror!
    No Avatar Zara
    13, Feb, 2012
    Hi Darren,
    That man is totally selfish. It alright if he dont want his childrens to read ur books. But other parent kids!!! Now that is a crime to any bookworm.
    No Avatar Xandy
    15, Feb, 2012
    For the love of God, keep wrniitg these articles.
    Site Member
    Ally_the_half-vampire's avatar Ally_the_half-vampire
    15, Feb, 2012
    He cant just decide that kids shouldnt read it by reading the back!!! if he doesn't want his kid to read it thats fine but reading the cover then saying no kid should read is not fair to kids or the book! At my school we have a lot of your books and no one has ever said they are inapropriate!
    Site Member
    Rawanaat's avatar Rawanaat
    16, Feb, 2012
    your books are great and i am so happy that my school library still kepp them on their shelves !
    No Avatar Mason Jones
    16, Feb, 2012
    That guy is a punk. i hope he doesn't get his way, because I live in wyoming and i don't know what school district it's in. If he were to get his way i might not be able to read it again anytime soon.
    No Avatar Debra
    20, Feb, 2012
    I'm a young aspiring writer that writes about angels coming to earth with machine guns and other weapons. XD

    Oh dear, if I EVER sold a book on THAT I wonder what parents may think. lol
    Site Member
    mistressofblood's avatar mistressofblood
    20, Feb, 2012
    omg how dare they say weather any of your book are not suitable for under 18s i think it is simpliy ignorance. you simply cant judge a book by its cover u rly have to read it. i simply love your books an so do my brothers an sisters an i hope who ever it is learns some manners
    No Avatar Taylor Donoghue
    21, Feb, 2012
    Hey Darren,
    What it wrong with that parent?! My friend introduced me to your books a couple of weeks ago and I'm hooked and on book 4 and I LOVE it!! How could someone hide that from kids? Wow!
    Site Member
    G-MAN's avatar G-MAN
    22, Feb, 2012
    All of Darren's books are awesome, Lord Loss is one of the best! That parent is very annoying, that book is for teens. Not adults!!!
    Site Member
    epicsean's avatar epicsean
    23, Feb, 2012
    Wow... what a maniac. He should have at least read the book before he tried to get it banned. He is definetley missing out on the best series ever.

    epicsean
    No Avatar person
    03, Mar, 2012
    I don't think your books are at all inappropriate for that age group(which I happen to be part of)There is much worse that people my age read. If they tried to do this at my school I'd just find a lot of people who like your books and have them all bring their copies to school....
    I dont think they can give several hundred students detentions. that would create quite a problem. wouldn't it? ;)
    No Avatar Koty
    26, Mar, 2012
    i'm a huge fan. i've read all of the Cirque du Freak books & Lord Loss is the only Demonata book i can find (hick town) but i have to say, it's unfair that all he did was read the synopsis & say it's "inappropriate". at least a kid's reading, right? most of 'em are too wrapped up in their PS3 or 360 or Wii. if a kid wants to read your amazing books, i say let them. as far as inappropriate goes, i've been reading Stephen King, H. P. Lovecraft, & Edgar A. Poe since i was 5 & i'm reasonably sane. keep doing what you do. you've inspired me to be a writer & i'm sure i'm not the only one. your books touch lives, solve problems, & cure boredom. thank you.
    No Avatar debbie Hemlock
    02, Apr, 2012
    i total agree. grr pepule who try to tell my parents not to let me read angers me. like i total miss the outsiders. all there was, was smokeing, my gosh if im not alout to even read about smokeing i better not go outside* please note that i am not premoting smokeing im just saying*
    Site Member
    vampiergril's avatar vampiergril
    17, Apr, 2012
    at my high school id u read a book by darran shan u get kick out of school up to 3 weeks becues the book band it not fari!!!!! i what to read the books i have all of them! allmost what sould i do guys? my mom thing about thowing away all my books my darran becues she thinks ther bad for me!!!!
    Site Member
    vampiergril's avatar vampiergril
    17, Apr, 2012
    at my high school u cant read books by darran shan u get kick out of school for up to 4 weeks becues the books are band and konw my mom say i cant read them to becues i just 15 1/2 and ther way to bloddy i miss reading ur books sooo muck it makes me cry :'( i sooooooooooo sad :\ how can i read ur books and not get kick out of school or ground???
    No Avatar debbie
    19, Apr, 2012
    i am FUMING! i jsut two mounths ago, exactly the timp it takes me to fineshed your book, cirque du freak, for the second time, aparently it was saposed to be taken out two mounths ago, exactly what it takes me two read the book, when word got out i got called too the conclers to see if i " enjoyed it" really?! so of corse i said yes and i just got saspended for a week! i am so mad! i have got all a's since grade school, not getting so much as a blue slip ( its a warning, the next is a princples vist it, then sapended then repets then expled) so now its all gone to pot! thanks ojh! thanks a whole freaken lot, oh ya, I REGRET NOTHING!

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