Episode #6 Censorship Bites: Ellen Hopkins in her own words


Download this episode by clicking here.
Episode #6 – even though episode #5 hasn’t even posted yet, this is a special edition due to recent events.
In case you don’t know, Lee Wind is running a contest to win a code to get the app for this podcast! (It’s a paid app, though the episodes are free). It’ll be a random drawing from the suggestions I get for future episode subjects. Next week I promise to have a new Betsy Bird review, and more input from listeners.

-Suggestions? Complaints? Recipes for summer tomatoes? Be part of the conversation and call

If you’re into kidlit, you have heard of Ellen Hopkins…and if you’ve heard of Ellen, you’ve heard what’s going on with her these days. In this episode Ellen tells what really happened with the YA festival in Humble, Texas, and reveals about how she feels about the whole thing.

I also spoke to two other authors whose lives were effected by Ellen’s “uninvitation”, National Book Award winner, Pete Hautman, who decided to boycott the festival, and bestselling author Todd Strasser, who decided not to.
Listen and find out their reasons.
For more information on censorship, Judy Blume has a great list of resources here. She also has a page specifically for kids to know their rights here.
To see Ellen in my movie I shot at ALA, click here.

Recent Comments

  • Mary Cunningham
    August 23, 2010 - 9:13 am · Reply

    Excellent interviews, Katie. It's evident that Ellen is hurt by this "un-invite," but I hope she's cheered by all the support she's getting from you and others.

    I'm proud to be an author and to hear so many other authors come to her defense. We all need to fight censorship.

    All parents have the right to dictate what their child reads, but don't dictate to others.


  • Katie Davis
    August 23, 2010 - 9:16 am · Reply

    Thank you, Mary. I don't know if you listened to the updated podcast, but if not, I just announced that the festival has officially been canceled. So very sad.

    This bites for everyone involved.

  • Lee Wind
    August 23, 2010 - 10:02 am · Reply

    Hi Katie, Just listened to your podcast. It was really interesting to hear Pete and Todd's differing takes on whether to attend the festival or not… And also wonderful to get to hear Ellen speak about what she would have discussed.
    Also, so interesting to know about the festival now being cancelled. I hope they reconsider, take Ellen up on her offer, and the whole thing comes back… But maybe it's an object lesson for the future, and everyone can learn from it going forward.
    Thanks for furthering the discussion!

  • Katie Davis
    August 23, 2010 - 10:05 am · Reply

    Thank you, Lee. It's a lovely fantasy to imagine them asking her to come – can you imagine – she said she'd pay her own way if that happened! I wish they would reconsider! It's not too late people! Call Ellen and ask her to come back!

  • VVV
    August 23, 2010 - 11:24 am · Reply

    Katie, you are a wonderful interviewer! (Great questions, and you really got to the heart of the matter.)

    This whole thing is so sad. I'm sure the superintendent is STILL full of himself and self-satisfied and is probably telling people, 'See, I told you that Hopkins woman was nothing but trouble.'

    In the end, the ones who have lost big time are the kids.

    Vivian Vande Velde

  • Katie Davis
    August 23, 2010 - 11:35 am · Reply

    Thanks, Vivian. I'm trying to think of him as overworked and understaffed and tossing and turning in his bed, unable to sleep, thinking,"Why oh why didn't I read that @*#$*%( book before responding? I know! I'll invite Ellen Hopkins back and we can start a whole new conversation about censorship! Yeah! That's the ticket!"


  • Mary Cunningham
    August 23, 2010 - 12:39 pm · Reply

    No, Katie, I didn't know the festival was cancelled. So sad. Everyone loses. I do hope they reconsider.

    And, I have to agree that you are a wonderful interviewer! You have a pleasing delivery and ask very insightful questions. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, even though the subject matter is distressing.


  • Katie Davis
    August 23, 2010 - 12:41 pm · Reply

    Thank you for such lovely compliments, Mary! You know, creating these things in a little corner of a room, all alone, I never know how people will react so it's REALLY gratifying to get a comment like yours. Thank you!

  • Valerie
    August 24, 2010 - 8:59 pm · Reply

    Mr. Strasser talks about wanting them all to attend and talk about censorship. That's a great idea, but when they district doesn't want you anywhere near them, that's kinda hard. And Humble is pronounced "umble"…the H is silent. Thanks for the interview it was great!

  • Katie Davis
    August 25, 2010 - 4:05 am · Reply

    You're right, Valerie – it's hard to start a conversation if no one comes to the party. Thanks for the comment, and thanks for the pronunciation! I had no idea!

  • Kristen
    August 26, 2010 - 9:23 am · Reply

    Katie – I really enjoyed listening to your interviews! I especially liked what you and Ellen said about censorship being motivated by fear. It's hard for me to understand what they were so afraid of, but Ellen's right, a simple phone call could have probably alleviated most of their fears. It's too bad they were so reactionary.

    I also didn't realize the festival had been canceled. That is just so sad.

  • Katie Davis
    August 26, 2010 - 9:52 am · Reply

    Thanks, Kirsten. Yes, it IS sad. Let me know if you'd like the embed code for this episode for your blog! Maybe your readers would like a listen?

  • Fanofreading
    November 13, 2010 - 4:21 pm · Reply

    I had heard about this happening a few months ago and am sorry to hear that it was cancelled. My cousin attends high school in Humble and I got the feeling after talking to my aunt that any of the parents really knew what was going on. I think it was tacky to un-invite Ellen, but the real losers in this situation are the students who now have nothing.

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