Thursday, February 12, 2015

YA (and Middle Grade) Authors LOVE Teachers - Book Giveaway!

I'm not a Valentine's Day person. To me, it's WAAAAAAAY more important how my significant other treats me the other 364 days of the year, than if he spends a whole lot of money on overpriced roses and chocolates on a day when it's prescribed and everyone else is doing it. Call me a freak, but I felt more loved when my boyfriend made sure that I had jumper cables and a flashlight in my car before driving up to Vermont for a writing retreat when it was snowing. To me, showed he loves me and is really concerned about my safety more than roses that are twice the price because it's the day you're supposed to receive them.

But just because I'm all "bah humbug" about Valentine's Day doesn't mean I don't like doing loving things for OTHER PEOPLE- especially teachers. Because I LOVE TEACHERS - and these days, they don't get nearly enough love and respect. 

 I am not alone! Several YA and Middle grade authors have banded together to arrange giveaways of our books to show our love of and appreciation for teachers. For the middle grade giveaway, visit LyndaMullaly Hunt's blog.   

And here, *drumroll* are the details of the authors involved in the YA giveaway!

Twitter: @JoKnowles
Author site:

Lee Kelly City of Savages
Twitter: @leeykelly

Alexis Bass  Love & Other Theories

Nova Ren Suma  The Walls Around Us
Twitter: @novaren
Author site:

Cindy L. Rodriguez When Reason Breaks
Author site:

And yours truly:

Sarah Darer Littman  Backlash
Twitter: @sarahdarerlitt
Author site:

HOW TO ENTER: It's easy! Just enter your name in the Rafflecopter here

And then Tweet about it using the hashtag #Authorsloveteachers 


Thank you, teachers, for all you do!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why we ALL need to speak out against Hate Speech. Every single one of us.

This morning, I received an email forwarded to me by a Jewish relative in Europe. I am loathe to even print it here, because I find it so offensive, but I am going to do so for a reason, along with my response to the person who sent it to me. 

Here is the forwarded email:


This  is very interesting and we all need to read it from start to finish.   And send it on to everyone.  Maybe this is why our American Muslims are so quiet and not speaking out about any atrocities.

Can  a good Muslim be a good American?
This  question was forwarded to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.  The following is his
Theologically  - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, The moon god of  Arabia.  
Religiously  - no. Because no other religion is accepted by His Allah except Islam.  (Quran,2:256)(Koran)  
scripturally  - no. Because his allegiance is to the five Pillars of Islam and the  Quran.
Geographically  - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five  times a day.
Socially  - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with  Christians or Jews.
Politically  - no. Because he must submit to the mullahs (spiritual leaders), who teach  annihilation of Israel and destruction of America, the great  Satan.
Domestically  - no. Because he is instructed to marry four Women and beat and scourge his  wife when she disobeys him. (Quran 4:34 )
Intellectually  - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution since it is based  on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be corrupt.
Philosophically  - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran does not allow freedom of  religion and expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist. Every Muslim  government is either dictatorial or
Spiritually  - no. Because when we declare 'one nation under God,' The Christian's God is  loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as Heavenly father, nor is  he ever called love in the Quran's 99 excellent names.  
Therefore,  after much study and deliberation... Perhaps we should be very suspicious of  ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both 'good' Muslims  and 'good' Americans. Call it what you wish it's still the truth. The more who understand this, the better it will be for  our country and our future.
The  religious war is bigger than we know or understand!
 Footnote:  The Muslims have said they will destroy us from within.  SO FREEDOM IS  NOT FREE.


When I read this, I was shaking with anger, particularly because this person had also sent it to my son, who I have always tried to bring up to evaluate people on their merits, not based on race, religion, or anything other than how they act as a person. I calmed myself down a bit, and then wrote this response:

 I always love to hear from you but  PLEASE, I have asked you before, and I ask you to respect my wishes,  DO NOT SEND ME HATE SPEECH LIKE THIS. 
It is EXACTLY the kind of racist propaganda that was written about US, the JEWS in pre war Germany. Or is even, still, being sent around by the KKK and other anti-Semitic groups. 
Someone I know posted something on Facebook that Evelyn Rothschild financed Hitler (!!!) as the beginning of a rant about the how the Jews are part of the New World Order controlling the world. 
I could look at this list and if I wanted to change it to anti-Semitic propaganda, I could easily make it apply to groups like the Satmars in Williamsburg just as much as this so called “Marine” is making it apply to Muslims. 
It is also full of lies. American Muslims aren’t quiet. They *ARE* speaking out about atrocities. Perhaps you are in such an echo chamber of anti-Muslim sentiment, only listening to the Islamophobes that you aren’t able to hear them. But I have my ears open. And here’s another thing - American Jews try to silence any criticism of Israel from “moderate” Jews. I am a journalist, a member of the press, and I was actually told I should keep my criticism “in house.” 
So politically, I could make this criticism of my own people. They don’t feel I’m allowed my 1st Amendment right to free speech? So by this email's “logic” does that mean Jews can’t be good Americans? Trust me, there is plenty of anti-Semitic stuff going around that says so, because “a Jew's first allegiance is to Israel."
This screed is disgusting and racist, and ask that you stop sending things like this to me and to my son. I am bringing up both my children to judge people on their merits, not to hate them instinctively because of either race or religion. 
After all, we know where that leads to, don’t we? My father’s grandparents and all of my mother’s family that remained in Poland perished because of exactly the kind of racist hate speech you are sending me about another people. 
When Pam Geller and her organization put up an Anti-Muslim billboard at our local train station, I was horrified, and I wrote an op-ed about it. I said that it was my family’s own experience with hatred that has made me determined not to be a bystander and to fight hate speech whenever I see it.  A Muslim Albanian doctor in Greenwich wrote to thank me for speaking out and me how his family in Albania sheltered Jews in WWII. This is how we repay them? 
Certain evangelical Christians in the United States are a serious danger to our democracy, particularly if one is woman, but you don’t appear to care about that, because they support Israel. But I am bringing my children up to think critically about the world. The ENTIRE WORLD. 
If you think of sending me anything, substitute Jew for Muslim and if it is hateful to you then, do not send it. 

         I am beside myself that we are at a point where Jews, who of all people should know the consequences of hate speech, are forwarding this kind of filth about another people. Haven't we learned from our own experience? Isn't this why we formed the Anti-Defamation League?

I'm also horrified if this really DID come from a US Marine. I sent it to my local ACLU branch and I hope they pass it up to national ACLU for investigation. Because if this did come from the US Military, we've got bigger problems with our military culture than we thought.