For two decades Laurie Halse Anderson has been speaking out, giving voice to teens who have experienced horrific trauma. Speak has brought the shame and humiliation experienced by rape victims out of the dark recesses of suppressed memory. Acknowledging the suffering, the rage. Initiating the first steps to healing.
In my early years as a youth librarian, Speak was constantly requested, always checked out. The story is as relevant to a fourteen-year-year-old girl from a small Texas town in 2000 as it is to a teen living in urban New York in 2019.
Speak: The Graphic Novel
by Laurie Halse Anderson ill by Emily Carroll
Publishing a graphic novel version of Speak is both an obvious choice and a brilliant decision. This visceral narrative translates to striking visual imagery.
Anderson chooses to update the original story, including references to cell phones and Instagram. This gives the narrative a fresh, contemporary vibe. Her Author's Note serves as an introduction. A helpful list of organizations which support victims of sexual assault contains descriptions and contact information can be found in the back matter.
Bonus: Additional Resources
Since my early draft of this post, a twentieth anniversary edition of Speak has been released. It includes a new introduction by Ashley C. Ford as well as an afterword by Jason Reynolds. This edition also features an updated Q&A, resource list, an essay, and poem by Anderson. I look forward to reading this updated edition.
I’ve Talked With Teenage Boys About Sexual Assault for 20 Years.
This Is What They Still Don’t Know
Laurie Halse Anderson Time January 15, 2019
Laurie reads "Me,Too" from Shout.
Laurie reads "Listen" from the 20th edition of Speak.