August 28, 2016

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When a Volunteer Oversteps | Scales on Censorship

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Training volunteer parents to hold opinions; requests to create a booklist about overweight adolescents and to remove books about suicide.

This article was published in School Library Journal's June 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

“Looking for Alaska” Stays in Curriculum in Lebanon, KY

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The controversial teen novel by John Green came under heavy fire in one high school—but in a victory for “freedom to read,” the merits of its use prevailed.

Experts Focus on Censorship at Bank Street Conference

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At “Who Are You To Say?”, an event held in New York City on April 16, authors and kid lit experts weighed in on where to draw the line between being aware and censoring.

Virginia Bill Requires Educators to Offer Alternative Book Option Upon Request

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The protests of one mom, who didn’t want her son reading Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” led to legislation that would require an “opt-out” option for assigned literature.

Assessing Controversial Books | Scales on Censorship

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Should libraries that already purchased books based on their starred reviews keep or withdraw them because of subsequent controversies?

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2016 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

You Don’t Show the Sweet Without the Bitter | Up for Debate

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I understand small moments of joy on a page, like a slave receiving a Christmas present, because I can place those stories into a broad landscape and see them as the exception, not the norm. You have to earn hopeful stories about horrifying events, and you can only see what hope means if the horrors lurking nearby are visible

We Will Continue to Raise Our Voices: Survival, Slavery, Censorship | Up for Debate

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This ‘shocking and unprecedented case of self-censorship’ was, in fact, an editorial decision. The publishing industry makes thousands of them every day. They happen in response to many factors, including outside pressure, personal bias, and money. This decision happened after many voices were raised opposing the book, led by Black Lives Matter activist Leslie Mac.

“When I Was The Greatest” Book Cover Provokes Concern From Brooklyn Parents

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Despite complaints from a contingent of parents about a photo of a gun on the cover, the New York City Department of Education has no plans to remove Jason Reynolds’s YA novel from lists of suggested reading material for seventh and eighth graders.

SLJ Columnist Pat Scales Wins ALSC Distinguished Service Award

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Pat Scales, School Library Journal’s Scales on Censorship columnist, has been named this year’s Distinguished Service Award recipient by the Association for Library Service to Children.

The Latest Tale of Captain Underpants Kept Out of School Book Fair

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The 12th “Captain Underpants” novel will only be available to school kids in Monroe, MI, if they specifically order it. It is not in the school library or at book fairs.

Open Door Policy for All Students | Scales on Censorship

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The importance of providing student access to the library.

This article was published in School Library Journal's October 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

It’s About Choice: Tactics for Fostering Intellectual Freedom | Scales on Censorship

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Censorship expert Pat Scales tackles the trouble with trigger warnings, the finesse of Banned Books Week planning, and the problem with narrowing options for reading.

This article was published in School Library Journal's August 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

“King & King”—and Teacher Who Read It—Under Fire in North Carolina

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While King & King will be allowed in the school, it is not currently in the media center, says Omar Currie, a third-grade teacher in Efland, NC, who read the picture book to his class. Any book a teacher wishes to read to students or use in the classroom that is not in the school’s media center will need to be submitted to parents in advance, starting in the 2015-2016 school year, adds Curie, who says a personal grievance has been filed against him with the district.

Library Police: Who Determines What Is “Appropriate”? | Scales on Censorship

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Pat Scales responds to a kindergarten educator who questions the age-appropriateness of This One Summer as a Caldecott Honor Book and an English teacher who grapples with what to do about her student teacher from a Christian university who has asked to opt out of working with To Kill a Mockingbird.

This article was published in School Library Journal's April 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

WTF, ALA?

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The new Banned Books Week poster has too many design elements to keep straight, uses a dumb and hard to parse neologism as its main message, and dog-whistles anti-Islamic sentiment with an image of what looks like a woman in a niqab. You had ONE JOB….  

The post WTF, ALA? appeared first on The Horn Book.

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Wants to Know About Your State’s Challenged Books

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The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom wants to know about your state’s 2014 book challenges. The deadline for reporting is Friday, February 27—so find out how to do so here.

Cartoonists Talk About “Charlie Hebdo”

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In wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, players in the cartoon/graphic artist world gathered at the French Institute Alliance Française in New York City to discuss issues, including censorship, satire, and the power of the visual medium.

Kansas May Criminalize Educators for Distributing “Harmful Material”

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A proposed bill in Kansas removes the protection of educators against prosecution for sharing so-called “harmful material” in schools. Senate Bill 56 has sparked strong partisanship, and the American Library Association is closely monitoring its progress.

Value Judgment | Scales On Censorship

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This month, Pat Scales fires back on a principal who nixes the study of a novel with a Buddhist mother-character in a world religions program, a teacher who wants to label library books by reading-level, and a company contracted for book fairs that labels a graphic novel featuring a kiss between two boys as “Mature Content.”

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Diversity, Intellectual Freedom, and Innovation | Professional Reading

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The latest professional reading encourages bringing dynamic, diverse, and innovative materials to patrons, from Pat Scales’s Books Under Fire to Adelaide Poniatowski Phelps and Carole J. McCollough’s Coretta Scott King Award Books Discussion Guide.

This article was published in School Library Journal's February 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.