The Free Expression Educators Handbook contains practical tools and advice for managing book challenges and censorship controversies in schools and school libraries. The handbook, created by NCAC in collaboration with the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), is intended for teachers, librarians, and school administrators. It offers guidance for educators developing inclusive and viewpoint-neutral instructional material policies, including sample [...]
Following widespread protest by local citizens and national groups, including National Coalition Against Censorship, an Alaska school board has voted 6 to 1 to rescind its decision to remove five classic works of fiction from the reading list for 11th grade English classes. Students will once again be able to read: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya [...]
Despite hard-won progress towards LGBTQ equality, books centering LGBTQ characters and stories remain among the most frequently challenged and banned in schools and libraries. The freedom to read stories about people of diverse sexual and gender identities can validate and empower all youth, especially those who may identify as LGBTQ. When LGBTQ youth do not see themselves represented in [...]
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 Arizona school district removed Khaled Hosseini's novel after 5 years on the English curriculum, raising questions about the motivations behind the decision.
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.
J. Todd Chasteen once described Isabel Allende's critically acclaimed work The House of the Spirits as a 'sex book.'
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."
Virginia School District Caves To Parent Pressure, Scraps Summer Reading List; UPDATE: Republican Senator Blasts Librarians For Selecting ‘Trash’, Petition Pushes Back
The Chesterfield County Public School summer reading list contained books that were "pornographic" and contained "vile, vile, nasty language," one mother complained.
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 … Continue reading →
Read ‘Em and Weep: Quotes from a Real, Live Book Censorship Debate over Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye”
The following may inspire tears of pride and/or rage, depending on your disposition. They are Change.org quotes from two petitions: one on each side of a debate over the use of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and other texts in Adams County, Colorado. Bailey Cross, a student at Legacy High School, is combatting censorship in her district in Colorado [...]
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 [...]
Arizona state officials rejoiced yesterday as a U.S. Circuit Judge upheld state law HB 2281, which prohibits any class that "advocates ethnic solidarity." The law was written to advance the dissolution of the popular and effective Mexican-American Studies (MAS) Program in Tucson in January 2012. Though Judge A. Wallace Tashima did not believe objections to the law met "the high [...]
Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported on a mother's attempt to have Toni Morrison's Beloved banned from AP English classes in Fairfax County. When we heard about the challenge, we immediately contacted board members to take the temperature of the situation. In Fairfax County -- a huge public school system with beefed up district operations serving 180,000 studentss -- there's a [...]
...and this was a problem for the mother of a student in Pennsylvania, who recently lodged a challenge against Adele Geras' Troy (Scholastic). The book was housed in the Northwestern Lehigh Middle School library and will stay there: the school board voted 5-4 to keep the book, in spite of the challenge. Two things caught my attention about this story. First of [...]
The Twelve Days of Censorship Years of Censorship Battles 120 Days of Sodom Egyptian Breasts Milking Nude Ladies Dancing Lords Banned for Witchcraft Bush Monkeys Swimming Nude Adults laying A golden chastity key Aristophanes‘ The Birds Catholic French outrage, a Clear Channel Dove and no art in Newark library A school administration in South Dakota pulled an entire set of encyclopedias off library shelves after discovering [...]
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 [...]
The American Library Association teamed up with us this week on a letter to the Rocklin Unified School District, where they are currently considering pulling Different Seasons by Stephen King out of school libraries. After her ninth grade son brought the book home from the library, a parent complained about sexual content in the book, specifically in the story "Apt Pupil." [...]
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 [...]
(applause for alliteration, please) This month we've been working on restoring two children's picture books teaching tolerance for different types of families. Though they are quite different in content, tone, reading level and appropriateness, their challenges parallel one another immensely. Book one is The Family Book by Todd Parr, a peppy, colorful and simple picture book teaching that families might be [...]
Discussing the "dark" qualities of YA books and their strong language is much in vogue of late. Yes, books can"scar" you--in that they effect you, they leave their mark, they cause an emotional reaction that sticks with you after you've read them. There seems to be an impulse to keep teens "unscarred" in the well-meaning, but perhaps naive hope that [...]
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 [...]
We were saddened to hear today about the passing of beloved children’s book author Maurice Sendak at the age of 83. His books, the most well-known being Where the Wild Things Are, captivated the imaginations of readers both young and old with their sometimes dark, fantastical stories. Because of the nature of his tales, many critics and censors marked his [...]
Two library employees were fired at the Jessamine County Public Library for violating library policy. Deciding that the graphic novel The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Volume IV: The Black Dossier was inappropriate for young patrons, they conspired to keeping the book on permanent “checked-out” status and removed a “hold” one young patron placed on the book so that she would [...]
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 [...]
On June 18, the School Board of Campbell High School in Litchfield, New Hampshire decided to remove four short stories from the “Love/Gender/Family” unit of an English class. Early last week, Kathleen Reilly resigned from her position as English department head, citing a desire to teach elementary school in a different district. Reilly, who had taught at the high school [...]
Kids’ Right To Read’s Jaime Chosak interviewed Brent Hartinger, author of the young adult novel Geography Club. Parents recently asked for the removal of the book from shelves in the West Bend Public Library in Wisconsin. Kids Right to Read Project: What was your motivation for writing Geography Club? Brent Hartinger: You know, it’s partly because the story is semi-autobiographical [...]
A couple of recent censorship attempts at public libraries have been squashed, but yesterday a group of parents succeeded in banning four short stories from high school classrooms in Litchfield, New Hampshire. School Superintendent Elaine F. Cutler stated that stories by authors including Stephen King, David Sedaris, and Ernest Hemingway will be removed from the “Love/Gender/Family” unit of a [...]
FOX News ran a national broadcast today about the Leesburg, Florida controversy over the Gossip Girl series of books in a public library. The segment, Unfit to Print?, features Dixie Fechtel and Dianne Venetta, the two mothers who brought their complaints before the Library Board, had them rejected, and are now petitioning the City Commission to have the [...]
A number of critics have taxed Not in Front of the Children with being insufficiently sensitive to the concerns of parents about sexual explicitness and graphic violence in popular culture. It's true that the book doesn't decry all the gross and offensive entertainment that is available—there is already a vast literature on that subject. My purpose instead was to stimulate [...]