New Cuba Book Review Service announced

Walter Skold writes "PRESS RELEASE & WEB SERVICE Librarians Launch Two New ServicesTo Recommend Cuba Books for the YoungIncludes Open Forum for Librarians, Students and Parents October 1, 2006 — Two new book review and online discussion groupshave been launched for teachers and students that will highlight the bestbooks and resources on Cuba for young people. "As a way to celebrate banned books weeks all year we are proud to lauchboth Cuba4Kids and YACUBA," said Walter Skold, the co-chair of FREADOM,the library group which is sponsoring the new project. "In light of the legal and social battles in Florida recently over severalbooks for children, it is important that parents and educators know whatkind of quality — and substandard — publications are available," saidSkold,"And to have an open forum where these resources can be discussed." "We agree with the position of the Florida ACLU that the answer toinferior books is more and better books, not banning," he added. Along with a service of professional reviews on the FREADOM website, thegroup has started the Cuba4Kids and YACUBA Yahoo groups where students,teachers, and parents can post their own reviews and have a dialogue withothers who recommended materials. "We are proud to provide a professional service that promotes free speechand expands the national debate over the issue of what our kids learn aboutthe tyranny of Fidel Castro in schools," said Skold. "In Cuba, there is no independent library association, no open debate on theInternet about censorship, and the books that children read in the classroomare subject to total control by the ruling Party," he added, "Withdissenting parents or elected school boards non-existent." FREADOM has assembled a team of professional librarians who have readwidely on Cuba and who understand the issues children and young peopleneed and want to learn about. They also understand that it takes more than pictures of smiling childrento make a good children's or young adult book or webpage. "While it is an intellectual freedom to publish all sorts of views onCastro's dictatorship, it is also an academic crime for teachers torecommend books that merely parrot pro-communist myths about Castro, Che,and the conditions under which Cubans labor," Skold added. FREADOM maintains there are plenty of excellent books and web resourcesavailable for children and young adults that are balanced and accurate, anddon't read like Fidel dictated them to someone in his obedient writer'sunion. "Children like to see pictures of other children smiling, and that is abeauty of life, but we also teach our children not to lie," said Skold."Therefore, books that consistently misrepresent history (as opposed to anauthor making a mistake here and there), are poorly researched, or whichmerely repeat vapid Castro mythologies should not see the lightof elementary school collections." "Such prudent choices are NOT acts of censorship," said Skold. "They areand exercise of wisdom and responsibility in book selection." The first few reviews have been added to the FREADOM website and the Yahoogroups are ready for adults and young people to begin posting their ownreviews. FREADOM is a 3-year old library group with an emphasis on Cuba thatadvocates for human rights and the freedom to read. The group hopes tosolicit reviews from famous Cuban-American writers in the ongoing effortto celebrate literature and have open debate regarding what kids readabout Cuba. Parents, students, and teachers are welcome to vistit the new discussiongroups and FREADOM'S page of professional reviews: YACUBA — Cuba4Kids —"

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