This list of our best resources on censorship and the First Amendment in schools will help you get ready for the school year.
Joan Bertin (former executive director, NCAC), Toni Morrison, Fran Lebowitz “The thought that leads me to contemplate with dread the erasure of other voices, of unwritten novels, poems whispered or swallowed for fear of being overheard by the wrong people, outlawed languages flourishing underground, essayists’ questions challenging authority never being posed, unstaged plays, canceled films—that thought is a nightmare. As [...]
The National Coalition Against Censorship supports Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community.
Often, the most frequently challenged books tell the stories that most need to be heard. The 10 most challenged books of 2017, according to the American Library Association, were no different.
A Dispatch from documenta 14: An International Art Exhibition in Which Book Censorship Plays a Central Role
documenta 14, an art festival occurring every 5 years, puts the issue of book censorship front and center this year.
NCAC is in the process of writing to the elementary school underlining that students have a First Amendment right to receive and possess literature, provided the books in question do not cause disruption to school activities.
NCAC Criticizes Politically Motivated Removal of ‘Jacob’s New Dress’ From North Carolina Lesson Plan
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and 6 other organizations committed to defending the right to read are urging a North Carolina school district to reinstate a children’s book in a 1st grade anti-bullying lesson plan after it was removed following pressure from local Republican lawmakers concerned about its gender-nonconforming themes.
The parents claim that the school taught solely Islamic religious practices in a World Culture and Geography curriculum, ignoring education in other world religions.
Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian were flagged for "explicit, graphic" content.
NCAC Defends the Glass Castle over Concerns of ‘Disturbing’ Content; UPDATE: Review Committee Votes in Favor of Keeping the Book
A formal complaint was lodged by a local parent who was offended by the presence of profanity in the book, which includes passages that reference sexual assault.
Terms such as "inappropriate" are vague and over-inclusive, potentially leading to the exclusion of works of undeniable pedagogical value.
In a follow up letter, NCAC stresses the district that banned TKAM/ Huck Finn needs an innocent-until-proven-guilty approach to book challenges.
In his statement, the author of 'Bad Little Children’s Books' has asked ABRAMS not to print another edition of the book, because it has been so widely misunderstood and misconstrued.
With Banned Books Week on the horizon, PEN's report discusses NCAC's 'multipronged' approach to book challenges and the specific challenges censorship poses to diverse books.
Renae Roscart, 15, considers parents who argued for the reading list removal to be "pretending that sexual assault and alcoholism isn’t something that youths encounter."
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom has sent a letter to the superintendent of the Alamogordo, N. M., Public Schools, asking that the district rescind its removal of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from Alamogordo High School classrooms and the library. The ban, which was reported last week, came after a parent complained about content on one page […]
Khury Petersen-Smith of SocialistWorker.org caught up with Persepolis author Marjane Satrapi to talk about the shady restrictions being placed on the teaching of her book in Chicago. Again, Satrapi showed her insight and savvy and aptly expressed the utter confusion and dismay we are all feeling: What is so horrible in my book that you need guidance? Am I inviting people to [...]
Photo by Chris Walker/ Chicago Tribune Teachers and students gathered outside Lane Tech College Prep in the freezing rain Friday for a spirited protest. "Honk if you love free speech," and "Closing Schools. Banning Books. What's next?" students' signs read. The protest was organized in response to the revelation that the Chicago Public School Board had evidently mandated [...]
Despite receiving accolades ranging from the National Book Award to the Pulitzer, these five notorious novels have been banned by schools across the United States. Their Eyes Were Watching God —Zora Neal Hurston, 1937 "Their Eyes Were Watching God" is a bildungsroman about a young Black woman growing up in the Deep South. In 1997 parents in Brentsville, Virgina attempted to [...]
Combining a number of genres, Daniel Pritchard sends a unified message: ideas should be free to be shared and absorbed. Daniel is one of our 2012 Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest semifinalists. Like what you see? "Like" this video on YouTube and it could become our 2012 People's Choice Award Winner!
April Jackson dramatizes a story about her sister, who was told by their mother she wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter because it contained witchcraft. April's short film is one of our 2012 Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest semifinalists. Like what you see? "Like" this video on YouTube and it could become our 2012 People's Choice Award Winner!
Sarah Grabman and Evan Horowitz submitted their whimsical reflection on how the censoring impulse can even seep into your own head and self-perfection. This film is one of our 2012 Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest semifinalists. Like what you see? "Like" this video on YouTube and it could become our 2012 People's Choice Award Winner!
Kids these days! Daniel Boyle and Grace vanKan tell a story of enlightenment for our 2012 Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest. Like what you see? "Like" this video on YouTube and it could become our 2012 People's Choice Award Winner!
Rebecca Onstott is one of our 2012 Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest semifinalists. Like what you see? "Like" this video on YouTube and it could become our 2012 People's Choice Award Winner!
Teen Free Speech Fighters! There's still time to enter the Youth Free Expression Project's annual film contest and potentially win $1,000 cash prize and a $5,000 scholarship to the New York Film Academy. We've extended the deadline to November 25, so get out your cameras and tell us a creative story about a time where an adult or other individual [...]
“If you have freedom of speech, you have freedom of speech,” publishing legend Barney Rosset was quoted as saying. Rosset was responsible for the publication of many celebrated works of American literature, especially those that pushed the envelope in terms of sexual content. A staunch defender of the freedom to read, Rosset risked his reputation, business, and life on his [...]
On September 23, we brought our Banned Books Library to the Brooklyn Book Fest and let passersby read to us from some of their favorite titles. Better than cat videos, that's for sure! Check out the whole playlist on our YouTube channel. Want to participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Readout? Shoot your own video! Click here for more [...]
The ACLU of Texas published their 16th annual Banned Books Report for the occasion of Banned Books Week this week and it both looks amazing and has great content. In addition to detailed information about books that were challenged and banned across the state in 2012, the report has a great interview with writer and activist Tony Diaz. Diaz joined NCAC and [...]
A parent of an incoming freshman in Enfield, CT took a complaint about the graphic novel Sidescrollers to the district Board of Education and succeeded in having the book axed from the list. In addition, the board decided to take responsibility for creating the reading list out of the hands of its teachers and funnel it through a board committee and [...]
A belated update, but one worth taking a second look at if you've seen it already. Missouri School of Journalism Associate Professor Charles Davis organized a group of students in working on an awesome project about book challenges in schools from across the state. Using Freedom of Information Act Requests, the participants gathered data on censorship issues in Missouri and [...]
The news is blossoming today with book challenge-related stories, and we thought we'd take a moment to share. 1.) A teacher's aide in Dubuque, Iowa was fired (though she apparently about to quit anyway) after disrupting classes by insisting that Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a racist book that shouldn't be taught in schools. Afterward, a judge [...]
On June 25, the Library of Congress will open its summer exhibit "Books That Shaped America." The exhibit will be on display through the end of September in the Southwest Gallery, located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, DC. Many books on the list of notable tomes won't surprise you. And it certainly didn't surprise [...]
It's been a rough week for the world of arts and letters--Maurice Sendak, Carlos Fuentes, now Donna Summer. And the great and prolific author Jean Craighead George, who died yesterday at the age of 92. I doubt Craighead George's name is as immediately recognizable to the general public, but as one of the many people who grew up on her [...]
After a busy week working to fight back against book bans and challenges, we were thrilled to see some good news. A Tulsa school district recently heard a parent's challenge to the book Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. The parent who challenged the book called the book "vulgar, vulgar, vulgar," objecting to its references to masturbation, pornography and an [...]
We spoke to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey about libraries that have banned their beloved trilogy, and erotica in general. This video was shot at an appearance by Grey author E.L. James at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in NYC. What do you think about libraries that have chosen to exclude all erotica, even while they carry works [...]
NCAC occasionally publishes guest blogs on topics related to free speech. The views in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official position of NCAC, however they raise important issues for discussion. By Vel Nirtist How do you keep the unwashed masses known as the "public" from highly prestigious and quite remunerative pursuit known as "public debate" which rightly belongs [...]
After a long and drawn-out challenge process, this week Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon finally prevailed in Franklin Township! The denouement to this extended drama came down to a special convening of the Franklin Township school board set for this past Monday evening (July 6th). No one knew how it would turn out. New members of the school board, whose [...]
We were gratified to learn of a kind mention last week from librarian Lizzy Burns in her thoughtful blog A CHAIR, A FIREPLACE & A TEA COZY concerning one example of the kind of work the NCAC does every day. You can find the original post here. The latest wrinkle in the story: Revolutionary Voices has been pulled from not [...]
The Amazing Grace Baptist Church in Asheville, North Carolina will be spending this Halloween burning books and music its deemed Satan's work - including all non-King James versions of the Bible. Attendees will enjoy barbeque chicken and all the sides while they burn works written by the Pope and Mother Teresa among others. Pastor Marc Grizzard says there is a [...]
On September 29th, Wyoming City Schools' School Board voted to back Superintendent, Gail Kist-Kline's plan to re-evaluate every non-textbook teachers recommend to students. Staff members will now be asked to rate books based on a new 4-point criteria, which inclues the extent to which a book "could create controversy among students, parents and community groups. However, removing books from reading [...]