Board of Directors
President and Publisher, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division (New York, NY)
Jon Anderson has been President and Publisher of the Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division since 2009. In his position, Mr. Anderson is responsible for the overall operations for the Children’s Division including editorial and production, publicity, marketing and licensing activities. He oversees a publishing portfolio that serves every category of the children’s publishing business, and while maintaining an extensive backlist that includes numerous Caldecott, Newbery, and National Book Award winners, continues to publish acclaimed and bestselling books for children of all ages. Prior to joining Simon & Schuster, Mr. Anderson was the President and Publisher of Running Press Book Publishers, a division of Perseus Books Group. There he was responsible for revitalizing and expanding the publisher’s children’s program to include middle grade and young adult fiction. Before that, Mr. Anderson was at Penguin Putnam, Inc., where he was Vice President and Publisher of Price, Stern, Sloan and Penguin’s DreamWorks program.
Mr. Anderson is also the author of over twenty-five children’s books under the pseudonym William Boniface, with cumulative sales of more than two million copies. Mr. Anderson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota. He lives in New York City.
Senior Counsel, Dentons US LLP (New York, NY)
Michael Bamberger has a broad background in constitutional law, intellectual property, and media law (both from the counseling/transactional and litigation perspective), corporate/securities law and business law. One of the nation’s leading First Amendment attorneys, Michael has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court; nine of the federal courts of appeals; Arkansas, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia and Tennessee Supreme Courts; New York Court of Appeals and federal and state trial courts, challenging unconstitutional laws and governmental actions restricting display, distribution and sale of books, periodicals, art, videos and on-line materials.
His best known case is Hudnut v. American Booksellers, in which the federal district court in Indianapolis, the Seventh Circuit and the Supreme Court all struck down the MacKinnon/Dworkin “civil rights” anti-pornography law.
Michael is also an expert on limited liability companies and partnerships, has counseled and written widely on the subject, and taught the subject at both Cardozo Law School and University of California, Berkeley, Law School.
An accomplished writer, he has published numerous articles on a wide scope of First Amendment issues. Michael has represented publishers defending actions for defamation, has counseled publishers and other media clients in their review of potentially defamatory and infringing material, and has published in the field. Michael also is general counsel to the Book Industry Study Group.
Joan was the executive director of NCAC from 1997 – 2017. Prior to that, she was a practicing lawyer, first in legal services and then at the ACLU. She has also taught at Columbia University and Sarah Lawrence College. Joan is the author of more than 30 chapters and articles in professional books and journals and numerous articles for a general audience. She continues to lecture on college campuses through the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program of the Council of Independent Colleges.
Judy Blume spent her childhood in Elizabeth, New Jersey, making up stories inside her head. She has spent her adult years in many places doing the same thing, only now she writes her stories down on paper. Adults as well as children will recognize such Blume titles as: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Blubber; Just as Long as We’re Together; and the five book series about the irrepressible Fudge. She has also written three novels for adults, Summer Sisters; Smart Women; and Wifey, all of them New York Times bestsellers. More than 80 million copies of her books have been sold, and her work has been translated into thirty-one languages.
She receives thousands of letters a year from readers of all ages who share their feelings and concerns with her. Judy received a B.S. in education from New York University in 1961, which named her a Distinguished Alumna in 1996, the same year the American Library Association honored her with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement. Other recognitions include the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the 2004 National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and in 2009 the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for her lifelong contributions to the field of children’s literature.
Judy is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom. Finding herself at the center of an organized book banning campaign in the 1980’s she began to reach out to other writers, as well as teachers and librarians, who were under fire. She is the editor of Places I Never Meant To Be, Original Stories by Censored Writers. Judy and her husband George Cooper live on islands up and down the east coast. They have three grown children and one grandchild.
Susan Clare has been a business consultant and lender in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors. Most recently she was the executive director of a loan fund that provides technical assistance and financing for worker-owned or cooperatively owned businesses. Previously she was a lender to healthcare and higher education clients with Chemical Bank, and before that, a consultant with Booz, Allen & Hamilton in their healthcare practice. Susan serves on the board and is the chair of the Finance Committee of Fairtrade USA, a not-for-profit that certifies and promotes Fair Trade products. She is also the Board chair of The ICA Group, a national not-for-profit organization that seeks to create and save jobs through the development and strengthening of employee-owned and community-based businesses. Susan lives in Massachusetts and in her spare time is trying to improve her Spanish!
Author, Broadway Performer, Broadway Book-Writer
Tim Federle is the award-winning author of the autobiographical novels Better Nate Than Ever and its sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! (Lambda Literary Award winner), which were named best books of the year by the New York Times and the American Booksellers Association, respectively, and was highly recommended by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, who called the series, “a wonderful evocation of what it’s like to be a theater kid.” Tim’s first novel for young adults, The Great American Whatever, was inspired by an accident near his high school in Pittsburgh that changed the community forever. Tim began his career as a performer on Broadway, appearing in four different musicals. He went on to oversee the dance training of the various Billys throughout the Broadway run of Billy Elliot and worked on the book of the musical version of Tuck Everlasting, which opened on Broadway in Spring 2016.
Executive Director, National Coalition Against Censorship
Chris Finan is NCAC’s Executive Director. He previously served as the director for the American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE), the bookseller’s voice in the fight against censorship. He has been involved in the fight for free speech since 1982. Prior to joining ABFE, he was executive director of Media Coalition, a trade association that defends the First Amendment rights of businesses. He is a former chair of the National Coalition Against Censorship and Media Coalition. He is a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation and received its Roll of Honor Award in 2011.
A native of Cleveland, Chris is a graduate of Antioch College. After working as a newspaper reporter, he studied American history at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. His latest book is National Security and Free Speech: The Debate Since 9/11 (IDEBATE Press), a reader for high school students. The Hugh M. Hefner Foundation honored the book with its First Amendment Award.
Chris is the author of From the Palmer Raids to the PATRIOT Act: A History of the Fight for Free Speech in America (Beacon Press) and Alfred E. Smith: The Happy Warrior (Hill and Wang). From the Palmer Raids won the 2008 Eli M. Oboler Award of the American Library Association.
Chris is married to Pat Willard, author of several food histories, including America Eats! On the Road with the W.P.A.–The Fish Fries, Box Supper Socials, and the Chittlin’ Feasts that Define Real American Food (Bloomsbury). They have two sons and live in Brooklyn, New York.
Eric M. Freedman
Professor of Law, Hofstra University
Eric M. Freedman is the Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights at Hofstra Law School. His career combines scholarship in constitutional law with public interest litigation dealing with the First Amendment and a variety of other civil liberties fields. Professor Freedman is the author of a number of scholarly and popular articles on First Amendment law and history. He is a director of and counsel to the National Coalition Against Censorship, a former chair of the Communications Media Committee of the ACLU, and has served several terms on the Communications Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association.
A graduate of the Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale College, Professor Freedman earned a Master’s Degree in history from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand while on a Fulbright Scholarship there. He received his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Hofstra University has awarded him its Stessin Prize for Outstanding Scholarship and twice named him as its Distinguished Scholarly Lecturer. He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. Prior to coming to Hofstra, Professor Freedman clerked for Judge Irving R. Kaufman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and practiced as a litigator at the firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York and Washington.
Martha has served not-for-profit organizations for more than 20 years, as a board member, in policy, communications, and development, and as a foundation program officer. Most recently, she worked as Director of Development for Parks & Trails New York, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for the growing network of public parks and trails and provides technical assistance to local “friends” groups. Previously, she was Director of Policy and Communications at the national ProChoice Resource Center. Her fundraising experience includes development and implementation of strategies for identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major donors, as well as for direct mail and online appeals. She has also worked as an attorney in New York City and as public affairs director and officer for city and state agencies.
Robie H. Harris was born in Buffalo, New York and has written over twenty-five children’s books. Robie writes picture books and nonfiction and is known for writing about serious issues with honesty and humor. Her most recent picture books, Maybe A Bear Ate It!, Mail Harry To The Moon!, and The Day Leo Said, I Hate You! all garnered starred reviews and awards. Her picture book Goodbye Mousie was a Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year, and Happy Birth Day was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.
Her internationally acclaimed book It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, was a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, and a New York Times Best Book of the Year, as was her book It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families. Her book It’s Not the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends, was an American Library Association Notable Book.
In 2005, It’s Perfectly Normal was # 1 and It’s So Amazing! was # 10 on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books in America. Most recently, It’s Perfectly Normal was listed as #7 on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books of the 21st century. Robie is a member of the Council of PEN New England, where she created and then chaired the Children’s Book Caucus for a number of years. She has served on a number of non-profit boards, and received an honorary doctorate from Lesley University for her writing about sexual health.
Chief Executive Officer, DKT International
Mr. Harvey runs the world’s largest private supplier/marketer of contraceptives serving Africa, Asia and Latin America from its headquarters in Washington DC. Operating in 16 countries, DKT supplied contraceptives to 22 million couples in 2010. The organization has an annual budget of $97 million. Harvey was cofounder (with Tim Black) of PHE, Inc. in 1972. PHE, which does business as Adam & Eve, sells sexually oriented merchandise by mail. It is based in North Carolina. Harvey built the firm from scratch to its present sales level of $88 million. Although he no longer manages the company on a day-to-day basis, Harvey remains active in policy making and as a member of the Board.
1970 – 1977: Executive Director, Population Services International (PSI). PSI is an international organization which manages programs of family planning and child health in developing countries. Under Harvey’s direction, PSI started major U.S. – funded programs in Kenya, Bangladesh, and a special project to combat teenage pregnancy in the U.S. PSI currently operates more than 40 social marketing programs in Asia, Africa, and Latin American.
1966 – 1969: CARE representative in Bombay and Deputy Director of CARE’s all-India program in New Delhi.
CARE’s activities during this period included provision of supplementary foods for school lunches for 10 million Indian children, special nutrition programs for mothers and preschoolers, and related projects in family planning assistance.Education: B.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1961; M.S.P.H., Family Planning Administration, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1970. Military Service, 1962 -64: U.S. Army, Ft. Meade, MD. Spec. 4.
President and CEO, ABRAMS
Michael Jacobs is President and CEO of ABRAMS, America’s premier illustrated book publisher. Michael started in publishing as a page in the main branch of the Oakland (CA) Public Library and went on to work at Bookpeople, an employee-owned distributor of small and independent press books, first in their warehouse and then as their first sales representative. His professional track took him to Penguin USA as a sales representative based in the Pacific Northwest and over the tenure of his time there eventually became President of the Viking Penguin division at the company. Michael also served as Executive Vice President of Simon & Schuster’s Trade division and as Publisher of The Free Press.
Before joining ABRAMS, he spent seven years as Senior Vice President in Scholastic’s trade book group where he orchestrated the publishing, marketing, sales and distribution of the most successful books in trade publishing history—the first five Harry Potter volumes, with over 150 million copies sold in the US. While at ABRAMS, he has overseen the publication of the best-selling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which has sold more than 210 million copies around the world and has been published in more than 60 countries.
Over the course of his career, Michael has agented a #1 New York Times bestseller; served as chairman of the Trade Executive Committee at the Association of American Publishers; taught as an Adjunct Professor in the NYU Graduate Masters in Publishing Program and at the Yale Publishing Course where he keynoted for 3 years. He is chair of the board of directors of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the Yale University Press Board of Governors. He was an Eli Whitney scholar at Yale University where he earned a BA in History. Michael is married to the novelist Sheridan Hay with whom he has two children. They divide their time between Westchester County and Washington County in New York.
Associate Professor, University of Illinois
Emily is an associate professor in the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book, Book Banning in 21st Century America,was published by Rowman & Littlefield and is the first monograph in the Beta Phi Mu Scholars’ Series. She also recently edited Trigger Warnings: History, Theory Context, also published by Rowman & Littlefield. Her articles have been published in the Library Quarterly, Library and Information Science Research, and the Journal of Intellectual Freedom and Privacy. Emily’s research interests include information access, intellectual freedom and censorship, information ethics, information policy, and the intersection of print culture and reading practices. She is also a member of the Mapping Information Access research team and was awarded the Illinois Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award in 2015. Emily also serves on the boards of the Association for Information Science & Technology and the Freedom to Read Foundation. She received her Ph.D. from the doctoral program at the Rutgers University School of Communication & Information.
Associate, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution; Web Specialist at MIT
Chris Peterson joined the NCAC board in 2010. He is a research affiliate and adjunct lecturer at MIT, where he studies and teaches civic media and the intersection of the Internet and society, and has published groundbreaking research on contemporary censorship practices on social media and in public institutions. Before MIT, Chris was a researcher at the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard, and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where his undergraduate thesis regarding privacy and Facebook was featured in Congressional Quarterly Researcher.
Writer and Human Rights Activist
Larry Siems is the former Director of Freedom to Write and International Programs at PEN American Center, where he led PEN’s ongoing efforts to defend writers facing persecution around the world and protect freedom of expression in the United States. He is also the principal author of the website thetorturereport.org, which aims to present a comprehensive narrative of the United States’ post-9/11 torture program. In addition to his human rights work, Siems is a poet and a nonfiction writer whose numerous publications include the book Between the Lines: Letters between Undocumented Mexicans and Central Americans and their Families and Friends. He has reported on human rights abuses along the U.S. – Mexico border for Human Rights Watch, and studied and wrote on immigrant politics in Orange County, California under a fellowship from the Open Society Institute. His poems have appeared in leading literary journals. His latest book, Guantánamo Diary, was published by Little, Brown in 2015.
Founder and President, Emily Whitfield Communications
Emily Whitfield has dedicated her career to guiding social justice organizations to successful communications on issues with high-stakes outcomes. She has deep experience in media relations, strategic planning, message development, persuasive writing, issue advocacy, and crisis communications. Emily spent more than a decade serving as Media Relations Director at the American Civil Liberties Union, directing a national team to support the communications needs of the ACLU’s leaders and lawyers across the country. At the organization’s headquarters in New York, Emily managed ACLU communications for some of the most significant news events of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. She has been interviewed on NPR’s On the Media, This American Life and in numerous national and international news outlets.
As the founder of Emily Whitfield Communications, Emily consults for a wide range of respected national and international nonprofits with diverse audiences, including the ACLU, Bronx Defenders, The Correctional Association of New York, the Ms. Foundation for Women, Natural Resources Defense Council, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the Vera Institute of Justice. Her successful practice includes stints as Interim Communications Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Innocence Project, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
As a writer and editor, Emily is the author or co-author of countless op-eds, news releases, annual reports, newsletters, and multimedia projects. Her work includes developing high-dollar donor case statements for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and writing substantive issue reports for the Ms. Foundation, Planned Parenthood, the ACLU of Arizona and the Vera Institute of Justice.
Emily is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York University, where she earned a degree in journalism. A lifelong free speech advocate (and practitioner), she serves on the board of the National Coalition Against Censorship.
Council of Advisors
Sylvia A. Law
Pamela A. Mann
Joyce D. Miller
Carl E. Flemister
Rhoda H. Karpatkin
David Henry Hwang
Susan N. Wilson
Franklyn S. Haiman