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“Censoring books, that’s the opposite of protection.”

Laurie Halse Anderson, icon of young adult literature and winner of the 2015 NCTE National Intellectual Freedom Award, speaks out for honest books for teens.

And, she knows from whence she speaks. Since its publication release in 1999, her novel Speak, a National Book Award finalist, has been challenged on its content about rape, sexual assault and suicidal thoughts. Yet, despite the controversies, English teachers, who believe with Laurie that “our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them,” continue to teach Speak in their classrooms.

Fans of the novel affirm it.

“They need us to be brave enough to give them great books so they can grow into the strong women and men they need to be.”