It’s not just Catcher in the Rye anymore.
The Randolph County school board in North Carolina voted yesterday to restore access to Invisible Man. Public statements of support from readers, students and citizen moved them to have a change of heart.
We are currently working on a number of on-going censorship battles. So often the loudest voices are those which demand a book’s removal on the grounds that it is inappropriate or lacks merit. You can help by voicing your support of the book and of intellectual freedom in a constructive and positive way.
Tanya Lee Stone’s A Bad Boy Can Be Good For a Girl is under challenge in the Currituck County high school library in NC; Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban was banned just this week in Sierra Vista schools in Arizona; Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is under challenge in Anoka-Hennepin schools and libraries in Minnesota.
Your letters of support to those in power in these communities can be a big help!
What You Say (Taken from our Censorship Toolkit)
I strongly urge you to keep [book] in [School Name] and to uphold the freedom to read for all students in our community. The views of those seeking removal of the book are not shared by all. The challengers have no right to impose their views on others or to demand that the educational program reflect their personal preferences.
If parents do not want their children to read a particular book, then they are free to request an alternative assignment. But they may not infringe on the rights of others to read the book or to tell other parents what their children may read in school.
In addition, removing the book will only teach children to remain silent instead of asking questions for fear of addressing “offensive” or “inappropriate” topics. They will learn that the way to deal with difficult speech is to avoid it, and that fear and ignorance supersede the quest for knowledge. Reading is the safest way for kids to learn about the world in which they are growing up and to help them anticipate real-life problems.
Please feel free to add your own flourishes and address the specific case you’re dealing with. In general, however, this letter is a great start. We would advise you to refrain from attacking those responsible and keep things classy.
Who You Say it To
The following are the school board members and superintendents in the affected communities.
Tanya Lee Stone’s A Bad Boy… – Currituck, North Carolina
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park – Anoka, MN
Matt.Look@co.anoka.mn.us, Julie.Braastad@co.anoka.mn.us; Robyn.West@co.anoka.mn.us; Jim.Kordiak@co.anoka.mn.us; Carol.LeDoux@co.anoka.mn.us; Rhonda.Sivarajah@co.anoka.mn.us; Scott.Schulte@co.anoka.mn.us; firstname.lastname@example.org
email@example.com; Tom.Heidemann@anoka.k12.mn.us; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Cristina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban – Sierra Vista, AZ
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Lori.Silk@svps.k12.az.us, Melissa.Avant@svps.k12.az.us, email@example.com
If you care to celebrate Banned Books Week in a way that can affect real change, become a part of the free speech fighters today.