From a press release:
Author Tommy Hays and banned book advocate Pam Scales at Malaprop’s, Oct. 12
Novelist Tommy Hays, director of UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program, will team with first amendment advocate Pam Scales for a discussion of Hays’ middle-grades novel and issues facing children’s authors and young readers at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 12, at Malaprop’s Bookstore and Café, 55 Haywood Street in downtown Asheville. This event is free and open to the public.
The event celebrates the paperback release of Hays’ What I Came to Tell You (EgmontUSA, 2013), which was selected for the American Booksellers Association’s 2014 ABC Best Books for Children Catalog. It is a coming-of-age story of an adolescent boy coming to grips with the sudden death of his mother. As the boy and a new girl in town get to know each other and face their own feelings of grief, love and yearning, the story is complicated by the possibility of romance between their widowed parents.
With its sensitivity and use of allusion, Hays’ What I Came to Tell You has not been challenged or banned, but the author is keenly aware of the pressures upon writers. “What I’ve finally decided is this,” wrote Hays in a recent blog post. “As naïve and possibly even foolhardy as it may be in this contentious educational and political climate, children’s writers must, in spite of the ornery times we live in, write to the child and forget about all the adults reading over his shoulder.”
Hays leads classes and workshops for advanced writers in the UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program and in the university’s Master of Liberal Arts and Sciences program. He has written many acclaimed adult novels, including The Pleasure Was Mine (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), the story of a couple coping with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
At Malaprop’s, Hays will be joined by former children’s librarian Pam Scales, who wrote the study guide for What I Came to Tell You. Scales also is the author of a series of guides to banned books, including the just-published Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books (American Library Association Editions).