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 [...]
We join PEN America, a member of our coalition, in opposing Washington State’s decision to restrict access to used books in prisons.
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.
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.
A Part Time Indian Challenged in Minnesota School District; UPDATE: After NCAC Action, Principal Recommends Book Remain in Curriculum
The objecting New London parents say that the book features “gratuitous and unnecessary” profanity and sexual references.
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.
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.
Vermont School Disinvites Childrens Author Because of Book About Heroin Addiction; UPDATE: School Reverses Decision, Will Carry Book in Library
Kate Messner speaking event at South Burlington's Chamberlin Elementary School after the school discovered her latest book was about heroin addiction.
Has the governor of North Carolina nominated a book censor to the state Board of Education?
Today the Brentwood Public Library board handed down its unanimous decision to keep Uncle Bobby's Wedding, a picture book by Sarah S. Brannen that had recently drawn objections from a patron. Library Director Vicky Wood initially offered a written response to the complaint, affirming the library's duty to provide access to a variety of materials: "Today, even in Brentwood, there [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Athey Creek Middle School in West Linn, Oregon has taught its eighth grade students a First Amendment curriculum for ten years, addressing the controversies surrounding commonly-banned books and reading the books in class. The unit drew no major criticism until early last month, when librarian and teacher Michael Diltz faced ire from several parents. He had written two common “obscenities” [...]
It's our 35th Anniversary! The typical gift for 35 years of marriage is jade or coral - well, we won't hand out earrings or take you deep sea diving, but we DO have an exciting evening planned to benefit NCAC and honor renowned and much-censored author Judy Blume! Join us on Monday, October 19, 2009 for A Night of Comedy [...]
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 [...]
Some good and bad news for you today, folks, on the fifth day of Banned Books Week… First the good news: In Pennsylvania, Downingtown West High School followed model procedure in addressing a challenge against Laurie Halse Anderson’s Twisted. We are please to report school officials and parents resolved the issue amicably through discussion. For more information click here. Also [...]
Its Banned Books Week and yet efforts to censor books in the U.S.A continue. In fact, just this past week, Ellen Hopkins, author of the Banned Books Week Manifesto was censored in Norman, Oklahoma. According to Ms. Hopkins, "I was supposed to do a school visit at Whittier Middle School. A parent went in complaining about content in CRANK and [...]
The Kids' Right to Read Project is urging the general public to speak out against book censorship at two high schools, one in Pennsylvania and the other in California where Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle are being challenged. KRRP is calling on supporters of free speech to advocate for students’ right to read everywhere, especially [...]
Being so busy with campaigns promoting “freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and central Asia, it’s hardly surprising that most of us here in the United States are unaware of an archaic and abominable practice that continues here at home - book banning. The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP), a collaboration of NCAC and the American Booksellers Foundation [...]
The twittersphere has been, well, a-twitter (sorry!) about a story this weekend of Amazon pulling media with GLBT content from it’s sales ranking. Search #amazonfail to have a look. The excuse? The books were “adult” materials. However, it became quickly clear that it was GLBT content that was defining “adultness,” rather than the potential age-appropriateness of the content. The impact? [...]
Board decides to restrict access to ‘Sex for Busy People,’ ‘The Lesbian Kama Sutra,’ ‘The Joy of Sex’ and ‘The Joy of Gay Sex’
In January, we reported on a Topeka, Kansas woman’s push to move books about sexuality to a restricted section. As Rebecca wrote then, “Restricting books may seem like a fine compromise, but it has a serious chilling effect on library patrons’ reading selection, and adopting such a policy would permit one person to enforce her views on everyone else.” Yesterday, [...]
It has been a busy week for book censorship. On Tuesday, MSNBC reported that The Bookseller of Kabul, a nonfiction account of life inside an Afghan household, was removed from a high school in Wyandotte, Michigan. The book had been assigned for an 11th grade honors English class at Roosevelt High School. MSNBC quotes a former teacher at the school: [...]
We were disappointed to hear that the school board in Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District voted last night to ban Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya from English classes at Orestimba High School. The 4-1 vote in favor of censorship upholds the superintendent’s decision to pull the book. In January, the Kids’ Right to Read Project was joined by PEN [...]
Students at New Rochelle High School found that pages from their reading assignment, Girl Interrupted, had been ripped out. Turns out: school officials pulled the pages to remove content they deemed "inappropriate" because of sexual content and profanity. It appears that the books were censored without first undergoing a formal review process. NCAC is working on a formal response to [...]
2009 is approaching, and as we plan our next year, we want to know: what censorship issue is nearest and dearest to you? Your answers can help shape this blog and the kind of projects NCAC pursues. Feel free to write in answers. And send it along to friends and frenemies. [polldaddy poll="1158458"]
No. As The Birmingham News reports: According to the ALA's office for intellectual freedom, there were 420 documented attempts to ban books from libraries nationwide last year, and up to four times as many unreported attempts". What gets banned? "Topping the list typically are novels written for young adults, and fantasy books such as the Harry Potter series. The Potter [...]
LOS ANGELES TIMES Friday, October 17, 1997 The first round of papers has been filed in a federal appeals court in San Francisco challenging the constitutionality of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996. At the same time, the new movie version of Vladimir Nabokov's book Lolita, starring Jeremy Irons, is opening all over Europe, even though it is not [...]
Penny Culliton, a New Hampshire teacher who fought back against attempts to smear and ultimately fire her, has been reinstated by the Mascenic School Board following a decision of the state's Public Employee Labor Relations Board. The Labor Board upheld an arbitrator's previous award that had turned Culliton's dismissal into a one-year suspension.