Publication of Controversial Graphic Novel Canceled and More | NewsBites

Backlash kills publication of graphic novel that is called Islamaphobic and dangerous.

An attempt to "broaden a discussion" goes terribly wrong, books from a vending machine in Buffalo, and a call for challenge reports among the news and notes in this edition of NewsBites.

Abrams Won’t Publish A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library

After Abrams Kids posted a “sneak peek” of A Suicide Bomber Sits in the Library on Twitter, the ensuing controversy, and an open letter from the Asian Author Alliance —which was signed by more than 1,000 writers, teachers, and readers and called the book “steeped in Islamophobia and profound ignorance”—Abrams announced that it will no longer publish the graphic novel as planned.

In announcing the demise of title written by Newbery medal-winning author Jack Gantos and illustrated by Sandman artist Dave McKean—two white, non-Muslim men—the publisher’s statement said, “While the intention of the book was to help broaden a discussion about the power of literature to change lives for the better, we recognise the harm and offence felt by many at a time when stereotypes breed division, rather than discourse.”

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OIF Seeks Challenges and Censorship Reports

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) is seeking information on challenges and censorship incidents at libraries, schools, and universities from 2018 to help them track the trends, craft resources, and provide updated information in the annual Top 10 Most Challenged Books report.

Library workers, educators, and community members are encouraged to submit reports to OIF online, by calling 312-280-4221, or email kpekoll@ala.org by Dec. 31. It can be a public or confidential challenge and include books, art, databases, speakerse, displays, or programs.

OIF assistant director Kristin Pekoll will hold a Facebook Live event, “ Report Censorship: Defend the Public’s Freedoms ,” on Dec. 12 at noon CT.

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More Midwinter Speakers Announced

The ALA Midwinter schedule is filling up more each day. Additional speakers were recently announced for the conference in Seattle, WA, Jan. 25-29.

Sylvia Acevedo (right)—engineer at IBM, rocket scientist at NASA, award-winning entrepreneur, commissioner on the White House Initiative for Education Excellence for Hispanics, current CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, and author of the memoir for young readers Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist—will be an auditorium speaker.

Author and sociologist Eric Klinenberg is the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture speaker. Klinenberg, a professor of sociology and director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, recently wrote an article for The Guardian on the importance of libraries and how they can offer a place for respite as well as one for social bonding.

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Book Vending in Buffalo School

Students at Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61 in Buffalo, NY, now have a book vending machine in the corner of their school library. According to the school’s website, the vending machine was the vice principal’s idea and is there to “encourage reading in and out of school and increase the children’s excitement about reading in general." Students preK to 4th grade will have the chance to earn tokens in their classrooms to use in the vending machine once a month. Local organizations, as well as Scholastic, donated money and/or books to stock and maintain the machine. The kids will keep the books to build their home libraries, the website said.

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