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August 29, 2014

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Banned Books Week Announces Comics Focus | ALA 2014

Banned Books Week Announces Comics Focus | ALA 2014

The 2014 American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Las Vegas this week set the stage for Banned Books Week, scheduled for September 21-27, 2014. This year, Banned Books Week will shine light on banned and challenged comic books and graphic novels. On the show floor, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), which provides legal support and expertise to readers, authors, and librarians, debuted a new handbook offering rundowns of commonly challenged comic titles, myths about banned books, and ideas for programming around Banned Books Week.

‘Annie on My Mind’ Author Nancy Garden Dies at Age 76

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Award-winning author Nancy Garden, best known for the classic—and sometimes controversial—novel Annie on My Mind, one of the first YA titles to depict a lesbian relationship, died of a heart attack June 23 at age 76.

Thanks for Annie, Nancy.

Thanks for Annie, Nancy.

I was very sorry to read that Nancy Garden died on Monday. While she wrote in just about every children’s-book genre there is, it’s Annie on My Mind that made her immortal, and led to her parallel, equally admirable, career as a defender of intellectual freedom in libraries and communities across the nation. The first […]

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This is not just about opera

This is not just about opera

The Metropolitan Opera’s cancellation of the announced HD broadcast of The Death of Klinghoffer is galling for a number of reasons. The Met’s decision to stage the opera (albeit with a note in the program by Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters, who have condemned the work as anti-Semitic)  but not broadcast it will please nobody. It is […]

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Request to Ban ‘Two Boys Kissing’ from Virginia High School Library Denied

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On April 23, Virginia’s Fauquier County Public Schools held a review and public hearing to consider a parent’s appeal to remove David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing—an LGBTQ-themed book—from the school district’s libraries. The board voted a unanimous decision to keep the title in the school district’s libraries.

Idaho’s Meridian School District Votes to Keep Hold on ‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’

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On April 2, Idaho’s Meridian County School Board voted 2-1 to continue the hold on Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian keeping the title off the school curriculum’s supplemental book list—and many Meridian educators are not happy about it. Alexie’s book, published by Little Brown, is the #2 most banned book in the country, according to 2012 figures from the American Library Association.

SLJ Columnist Pat Scales Addresses Censorship Concerns in Libraries

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Librarian and SLJ columnist Pat Scales responds to a range of censorship issues from librarians around the country.

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

Moving moment No. 6

Moving moment No. 6

Ooh, who remembers this one? In 1982, the library systems of Chicago, Milwaukee, and San Francisco banned Margot Zemach’s Jake and Honeybunch Go to Heaven from their collections (Chicago, from where I followed the whole story avidly, did include it in its two regional research libraries). Unlike the headlines, still popular today, that too-loosely use […]

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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.

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.

Foster Stronger Schools by Supporting Reading Freedom | Scales on Censorship

The House of the Scorpion

Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Pat Scales responds to questions about book challenges, dystopian novels in elementary school, and the age-appropriateness of Bullying Prevention displays.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

‘Golden Domes’ Picture Book Causes Stir at Scholastic Book Fair

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A parent in Marietta, Georgia, has lodged a complaint with his local school board about the inclusion of Hena Khan’s picture book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors at his daughter’s Scholastic Book Fair on October 17. Thomas Prisock claims that the book is “an indoctrination of Muslim culture,” according to the The Marietta Daily Journal.

Now you’re telling us?

While Gary Soto seems a bit of a fragile flower in this essay about why he’s been scared off writing for children, I have sympathy for him. If your book is sexy or foul-mouthed or anti-authority, you have no better friends than the American Library Association and its adjacent professions. They will–and they should–stick up [...]

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SLJ’s Banned Books and Censorship Roundup | Resources

Photo courtesy of Muskingum University Library http://www.flickr.com/photos/50729339@N00/4944592231/

Fighting censorship and limited access to materials is an integral part of a librarian’s mission and job description. Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since then. The following is a selection of SLJ’s news coverage of challenged books, interviews with oft-banned authors, and tools for showcasing censored titles during Banned Books Week, and all year.

Give Children a Choice: Advocating Open Access to Materials | Scales on Censorship

deenie by judy blume

Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Pat Scales responds to questions about book challenges, summer reading lists, and boundaries for school library parent volunteers.

This article was published in School Library Journal's September 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

A Formal Challenge Process Provides Teaching Moments | Scales on Censorship

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Chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee Pat Scales tackles censorship questions about The Hunger Games, grammar in “Junie B. Jones” series, and why reporting materials challenges to the ALA OIF is so important.

Update: Michigan School District Rejects Parent’s Challenge to Anne Frank’s Diary

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A Michigan parent’s complaint that Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition is too frank for middle schoolers and should be replaced with an older, expurgated edition has been rejected by the local school board.

NCAC Film Fest Celebrates Free Expression

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A host of teen filmmakers were on hand this Saturday at the New York Film Academy for Youth Voices Uncensored, a screening of the winners of The National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Project’s film contest, which tackled the topic of book banning.

O Come All Ye Faithful?

Don’t miss Leonard Marcus’s latest column about picture book covers, and speaking of that, SLJ stalwart Rocco Staino reports on a gallery of ‘em that would make Judy Blume blush. Or would they? The pictures were created by several well-known picture book artists in service of raising money for the National Coalition Against Censorship. They [...]

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ACLU Files Suit Against Utah School District for Removing Polacco’s ‘In Our Mothers’ House’ from General Circulation

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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation has filed suit against a Utah school district that removed “In Our Mothers’ House,” a picture book about a family with two mothers from school library shelves.