In a sad turn of events, the Humble, Texas Teen Lit Fest was canceled due to the decision by four other authors not to attend after Ellen Hopkins' invitation was rescinded earlier this month. While it is tragic that the festival was canceled, perhaps it will show superintendent Sconzo that he should think a bit more before he tries to put the concerns of one librarian and a few parents above the entire community and audience of the festival. Hopkins says in her blog that "Mr. Sconzo went on to say that there are so many authors they could never have them all at their Teen Lit Fests." With that in mind, I am curious why Mr. Sconzo didn't just find more authors? Oh wait, he already burned his bridges on that front!
Hopkins acknowledged the move by Pete Hautman, Tera Lynn Childs, Matt de la Pena, and Melissa de la Cruz, in a later statement:
We are authors and we believe in the power of books and knowledge. So authors dropping out is not so much in support of me, but a stand against censorship,” Hopkins said. “No one from the district ever came to me until they said to go away. They didn’t even bother to ask me what I would talk about. I wish they would have just voiced any concerns. They would have learned that I just wanted to talk about the writing process and how I got to where I am.
The School Library Journal had this to say on the withdrawal of the four other authors: "Yet while Hopkins knows inadvertently that teen readers will be punished for not seeing some of their favorite authors, she and the other writers believe the lesson, while tough, is valuable for them to witness as well." Hopkins stated: We all feel badly that we're making this stand. We don't want our readers to feel like we're punishing them. But this is about having the right to read our books, and these people don't have the right to say you can't.