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April 15, 2014

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8,000 Schools to Join ‘Day of Silence’ on April 11, Protesting LGBTQ Student Harassment

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Hundreds of thousands of students will take a vow of silence on Friday, April 11, to raise awareness of the silencing impact of bullying, name calling, and harassment of LGBTQ youth in schools.

North Carolina School Board Decides to Keep The House of Spirits

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In a 3-2 vote, North Carolina’s Watauga County School Board has settled on keeping The House of the Spirits in its sophomore honors English curriculum.

Poetry Book by Teens Removed from Arizona School

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“Things I Have to Tell You,” a compilation of more than 30 poems by teens from ages 15 to 18, was pulled from Arizona’s Stapley Junior High School due to references to drugs and boys’ bodies, among other issues.

Challenge-Ready: Using Thoughtful Leadership to Promote the Freedom to Read | Scales on Censorship

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Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Pat Scales offers advice and resources to educators looking to promote the freedom to read in their classrooms and libraries.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

NYPL Censorship Salon Focuses on Self-Censorship, Book Rating Trend

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Participants in a New York Public Library Children’s Literature Salon discussed pressing censorship issues, from self-censorship by authors and librarians to schools that rate titles for appropriateness, and the chilling impact a challenge can have on a book.

LOC Literacy Awards; New Follett Chairman; Harry and Hermione? | News Bites

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The Library of Congress is accepting applications for its Literacy Awards. Todd Litzsinger is Follet’s new chairman of the board. Rowling casts doubt on Ron-Hermione pairing. Alexie novel challenged again. Rowell to write graphic novels.

Reading, PA, Students Protest Classroom Library Probe

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Middle school students in Reading, PA, are protesting what they see as unjust scrutiny of their classroom libraries—using their own voices even as teachers express reservations about speaking out.

Leading The Technology Charge | Feedback

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Feedback this month ranges from the defense of librarians who embrace technology to support for Isabel Allende’s novel The House of the Spirits, which is still being challenged by parents in a North Carolina school district.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

North Carolina School Board Retains ‘The Color Purple’

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North Carolina’s Brunswick County School District has voted to retain Alice Walker’s award-winning epistolary novel The Color Purple in its school libraries and classrooms, following a series of unofficial challenges to the book that began in October.

School Library Journal’s Top Posts of 2013

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From the latest technology to examples of stellar programming and insight into the Common Core, our most popular posts of the year reflect the range of reader interests and concerns.

NY District Returns ‘Nasreen’s Secret School’ to Third Grade Classrooms

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In the Southold (NY) Union Free School District, third graders can continue to hear the story of a young girl’s experience under Taliban rule, as told in Jeanette Winter’s Nasreen’s Secret School . However, the book’s use in the district does not please everyone—including seven-year veteran board member Scott DeSimone.

‘Bless Me, Ultima’ Returns to Idaho High School Classrooms

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Rudolfo Anaya’s award-winning coming-of-age story Bless Me, Ultima, considered a classic of Chicano literature, has been returned to high school classrooms in Idaho’s Teton County School District following a parental challenge that temporarily removed it from the classroom.

North Carolina Community Rallies in Support of Challenged Allende Book

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Residents of North Carolina’s Watauga County have rallied in recent weeks in support of Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits, which is being challenged by a local group. In an effort to keep the issue in the public eye ahead of book’s next review, advocates hosted a teach-in about the book last week at Appalachian State University.

Intellectual Freedom 101: Strategies for School Libraries | AASL 2013

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Among the dozens of concurrent learning sessions at the American Association of School Librarians’ National Conference last month, a popular theme was that of intellectual freedom. “What Do I Do If? Intellectual Freedom Dilemmas in School Libraries” stood out for its scope and its round-robin style approach to problem-solving.

Library Advocates File Brief to Challenge Arizona’s Ethnic Studies Ban

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The Freedom to Read Foundation, joined by key library and learning advocates, filed an amicus brief November 25 with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the constitutionality of an Arizona statute that bans ethnic studies. The statute violates students’ First Amendment rights, Barbara M. Jones, FTRF’s executive director, says.

Alexie’s ‘Part-Time Indian’ Pulled from West Virginia School Curriculum

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Sherman Alexie’s award-winning young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indiancan no longer be taught in classrooms at West Virginia’s Harpers Ferry Middle School, English teacher Dawn Welsh—who had assigned the book to approximately 120 eighth graders—tells SLJ. The often-challenged title was removed from the curriculum at Jefferson County Schools after parent Misty Frank objected to its profanity and sexual content.

Parents, School Districts Push Back On Book Challenges

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Local communities and school districts have rallied this fall against recent objections to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian—garnering support for them to remain, at least temporarily, on school reading lists.

Rainbow Rowell’s ‘Eleanor & Park’ Retained in Minnesota High School

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A review committee at Minnesota’s Anoka High School has agreed to retain Rainbow Rowell’s lauded young adult novel Eleanor & Park in its library, despite a complaint from a parent who had partnered with the conservative Parents Action League to challenge the book.

Isabel Allende Defends ‘House of the Spirits’ to North Carolina School Board

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Isabel Allende’s acclaimed novel The House of the Spirits, which faces review by North Carolina’s Watauga County Board of Education due to a parental complaint, now has another high-profile advocate: the author herself. Read the full text of her impassioned letter, which she sent to school board members along with her book.

NCAC Honors YA Author Sherman Alexie as Defender of Free Speech

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More than 200 people gathered on Tuesday in New York City to toast YA author Sherman Alexie, who was being honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) at its annual “Free Speech Matters” event. NJ librarian Wilma J. Grey was also honored.