Challenged Book: Speak
Artist: Laurie Halse Anderson
Date of Action: August 2021
Location: Sarasota, Florida
Confronting Bodies: Sarasota, FL school
Description of Artwork: Speak, published in 1999, is Laurie Halse Anderson's young adult novel that tells the story of Melinda Sordino's rape, recovery, and confession. The book has faced censorship for the sexual content of Melinda's rape.
The Incident: In Florida, the novel has been called child pornography. A parent contacted the Laurel Nokomis School in Sarasota County, Florida after her child was told to read Speak for her 8th grade class. She did not want her child exposed to material that dealt with the emotional aftermath of rape, bullying, depression, rape, sexual harassment, and family dysfunction.
Results of Incident: A letter was written to the school board, and after reviewing the book, the review committee at the school decided to keep the book in the curriculum. The challenge now moves to the district level.