Thursday, 1 October 2015

Celebrate the Freedom to Read with Christine Potter #BannedBooksWeek

September 27th - October 3rd

It's BANNED BOOKS WEEK and we're recognizing this important week with BANNED BOOK features from our authors.

Please welcome Christine Potter, author of TIME RUNS AWAY WITH HER, releasing tomorrow!

I was a young adult in the 1960s and early 70s.  I didnt trust adults writing down to me.  So I read Salinger and sneered. There was one other author I really trusted: Madeleine LEngle.  Little did I know then that even my beloved A Wrinkle In Time was banned in some places by groups who found LEngles brand of lefty Christianity either not Biblical enoughor too religious.  She was even accused of Communism.  The book is still controversial.

I didnt discover Anne of Green Gables until I was an adult visiting Prince Edward Island.  I read it in my 50s, and loved it as much as Mark Twain did.  In fact, Lucy Maud Montgomerys Anne series is what got me started writing my own first YA novel, Time Runs Away With Her.  But even red braids and hard-working Canadian farmers dont escape those who want to bubble-wrap our kids.   A play adaptation of the classic book performed in an American public high school recently came under heavy criticism for being too hard on adoptees! Cue the angry parents in the superintendents office.  Ban Anne!

Ive been in recovery from teaching high school English for a number of years now, but somehow I got away with doing a full-metal whole-language take on The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn in my classroom back when I was still in the trenches.  And I do mean whole-language, complete with the N-word and every sharply-observed bit of racism Twain tells the blessed truth about in that dark, deeply funny,  heartbreaking book. 

I taught for a lot of years.  Never once did I have a student tell me that she wished I had censored the required reading.  But lets face it: the best way to get someone NOT to read a book is to assign it in school.

When I was in high school myself, there was the mostly-classical music that got taught in school and the music kids actually listened to: rock and roll.  Music teachers sneered at The Beatles and The Stones.  Meanwhile, high school bands died for lack of interest, but everyone played guitar and listened passionately to the music that was effectively banned in their schools.

Todays best YA fiction is the rock and roll of its time.  It needs to push the boundaries, or itll be about as relevant as the sappy odes to springtime my seventh grade chorus performed in 1964.  

Kids have to be able to choose what they read.  And we need to get off our literary high horses about it when they choose genre fiction.  My favorite news image of this past week was Stephen King receiving The National Medal For the Arts from President Obama.  Anyone who has taught high school English will tell you that the kids who hated to read ALWAYS made a big exception for anything by Kingwho, by the way, is a just plain excellent writer.

I think adults envy kids.  They remember how happy they used to get, and how intense and wonderful the world was, even when it wasnt so wonderful.  Thats the fun of reading and writing YA as an adult. But some of us express our envy by trying to control the wrong things.  The truth is that we cant change who kids are by either banning books or assigning them.   Choice is everything.  Kids will surely read the banned books. And theyll ignore the assigned booksunless we let them choose the ones that tell the truth.

About the author:
Christine Potter lives in a small town not far from the setting of Time Runs Away With Her, near the mighty Hudson River, in a very old (1740) house with two ghosts.  According to a local ghost investigator, they are harmless, “just very old spirits who don’t want to leave.”  She doesn’t want them to.

Christine’s house contains two pipe organs (her husband is a choir director/organist), two spoiled tom cats, and too many books.  She’s also a poet, and the author of two collections of verse, Zero Degrees at First Light, and Sheltering in Place. Christine taught English and Creative Writing for years in the Clarkstown Schools.  She DJ’s free form rock and roll weekly on, and plays guitar, dulcimer, and tower chimes. Website:

Times Runs Away with Her
by Christine Potter

YA Time Travel Romance

It’s not easy being Bean. Bean Donohue lives for her guitar, but her mom threw her out of the house during a snowstorm for singing. No way she’s going to get permission to go see The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore East. 

Zak, her almost-boyfriend, will get drafted if he doesn’t get into art school, pot makes Bean paranoid, and her best friend can’t stop talking about sex. 1970’s not for wimps—but neither was 1885...or 1945. So why does Bean keep sliding backwards in time?


  1. I enjoyed reading your post. I teach college lit and yeah, I have NEVER had a student tell me I should have banned a book from the classroom. Unless it was extremely boring. LOL.

  2. Just say the word banned and a kid will gravitate toward whatever has that label. I do. I mean what could be so "bad" that someone didn't think it fit for consumption? Well, okra maybe, but that's a whole other issue. Thanks for the great post. I enjoyed it.