THIS, my dears, is censorship.

We talk a lot in this field (and on this blog, I guess) about censorship. And most of the time we use the term loosely, describing those who challenge a book’s distribution by a library, for example, as “censors.” I’ve always found the term in this context alarmist–it’s not the challengers who are censors, the censor is […]

The post THIS, my dears, is censorship. appeared first on The Horn Book.

reathingWe talk a lot in this field (and on this blog, I guess) about censorship. And most of the time we use the term loosely, describing those who challenge a book’s distribution by a library, for example, as “censors.” I’ve always found the term in this context alarmist–it’s not the challengers who are censors, the censor is the library that accedes to the pressure and removes the book.

But Judith Ridge brought to my attention a case that actually deserves the name. Ted Dawe’s YA novel Into the River (which I have not yet read) has been banned by New Zealand’s Film and Literature Board of Review, an agency of the NZ government. While it is not forbidden to read the book, it is illegal to sell or share it, meaning that bookstores,  libraries, and schools must withhold it from customers, patrons, and students. This is the real thing. I can’t imagine our own federal government doing such a thing nowadays, restricting itself as it does to child pornography and allegedly important state secrets. I don’t think we even have a government department equivalent to that Board of Review, do we?

I don’t mean to say that the freedom to read is absolute in this country, either–pressure groups and vigilante librarians as well as individual parents and teachers strive mightily to keep the young, or even a young, from books all the freaking time. But imagine if they had recourse to an agency such as this one.

The post THIS, my dears, is censorship. appeared first on The Horn Book.

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