Written by on September 13, 2012

Let’s talk about sex (episode 8)


This is episode 8 of 12.

In Episode 8 “Let’s Talk About Sex,” Kristen and I discuss books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of 2000-2009 that have been challenged for sexual content.

This year I celebrated my 30th birthday (actually, the whole month was one prolonged celebration) with a trip to San Francisco with two girlfriends who were also turning 30 this year.  Needless to say, we jammed to 80’s and 90’s tunes the entire weekend. I was surprised by how effortlessly I was able to pull the lyrics from dark recesses of my mind for everything from Ace of Base to Salt-n-Pepa, which made me realize that I knew the lyrics to Let’s Talk About Sex and Shoop when I was 12 years old.  I didn’t really understand them…but I was aware that there was this swift social undercurrent and it had something to do with S-E-X.

Talking about issues of sex, sexuality, and mental and physical sexual health is incredibly important- it removes the mystery and taboo from the topic, clears up misconceptions, and allows us to move from nervous giggles behind closed doors (or more appropriately for today, in front of computer screens) to open and honest dialogue.  How and when it’s done is a matter of choice, and books that discuss these issues can be a valuable tool to begin the conversation.

This podcast is just one of mind-blowing things Kennedy Library is doing to celebrate Banned Books Week, including an interactive infographic!  When you’re done sharing your thoughts, revel in the awesomeness at Kennedy Library’s Banned Books Week hub.

–Michele Wyngard

Books we discuss:

  • Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds, #83 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, #60

Let’s learn about sex! Honorable mentions:

  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris, #12
  • It’s So Amazing by Robie harris, #37
  • What’s Happening to My Body Book by Lynda Madaras, #73
  • Deal With It! by Esther Drill, #82


To learn more about what we discussed, check out these websites:

Gurl.com, the website inspired by Deal With It

Reader reviews of Detour for Emmy on Goodreads

Laurie Halse Anderson official website

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization

and these tantalizing texts*:

Doyle, R.P. (2010). Banned books: Challenging our freedom to read. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Foerstel, H.N. (2002). Banned in the U.S.A: A reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


This podcast series, I’m with the Banned features personal conversations between Michele and Kristen, a reflection of their year of reading and research. They, like the Kennedy Library, hope you are inspired to have your own conversations to explore ideas around these complex topics.

*just wanted to see if you were paying attention…

Read more on ALA, american library association, banned books, banned books week 2012, cal poly, freedom to read, i'm with the banned, kennedy library, laurie halse anderson, podcast, sex education, and speak.

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