How do children get the book bug?

One From The UK: 30 years of books for children divide Ion and Lusa Thomas from their children. In some respects the children's choice of stories is similar to that of their parents - right down to the titles in the case of Asterix and Tintin.

But generally today's children have a much broader range of books and authors to choose from. The subjects covered are more diverse than in the early 1970s, when adventure books were the staple fare for young readers.

Great Canadian Writing Contest

Attention teachers and kids...if you're a Canadian student, if you're in fifth or sixth grade and you like to's a great contest for you!. It's the General Motors GREAT CANADIAN WRITING CONTEST...and you have until May 8th to enter.

Check out their website for writing tips, rules and an entry blank. Good luck!!

Students replace bloodied books

Here's A Strange One from Montana. Students in Jodee Patrick's second-grade class at Boulder Elementary cleaned out their bookshelves at home last week to help replace almost 250 books destroyed at the Bighorn County Library in Hardin last month.

The Hardin books were damaged by an intruder who broke into the library's children's section, hurt himself and got blood on numerous books.

<i>Reading Rainbow</i> to receive funding, facelift

zanne writes: "I don't remember seeing this update on LISNews and can't find anything related to it by searching the site, so I hope I'm not repeating content previously submitted."

Educate Inc., the publicly traded company that tutors thousands of schoolchildren through its Sylvan Learning Centers and sells Hooked on Phonics curricular materials to consumers, recently acquired Reading Rainbow, the PBS children's literacy series that has languished for lack of funding.

Within a year the company plans to give PBS a proposal for revamping the series and making it with a new creative team, said Jinny Goldstein, former PBS senior v.p. of education and recently named v.p. of education and strategy for Educate Products Division.

Florida district plans to yank book about Cuban children

News From where A children's book may be removed from dozens of elementary school libraries throughout the district because it contains themes from Cuba's communist regime.

The book, Vamos a Cuba (A Visit to Cuba), is available at 33 schools, district officials say.

In a memo sent Tuesday to board members, Superintendent Rudy Crew outlined his concerns: "The book has content and pictures that are reflective of the current Communist regime. Staff is following approved School Board rules to remove the book from all libraries."

Truant kids in the library

Here's A Neat LibraryLaw Blog Post on those darn kinds that keep hanging around. The question arose whether public libraries have a responsibility to report kids in the library in the daytime who they suspect are truant.
The answer seems to be Essentially, public librarians are not in loco parentis and have no duty to report suspected truancy.

Oklahoma House Votes 60-33 to Segregate Books

As reported in the Daily Oklahoman [free registration required], The Oklahoma House of Representatives has approved HB2158, which will require all Oklahoma libraries to pull books with "homosexual" and "sexually explicit" subject matter from the children's and young adult collections. I've reported on this before [2/10, 3/11, 3/11, 3/15]. For a sense of what the debate looks like, this is a quote from the sponsor of the bill:

"Libraries and librarians should not be usurping the role of parents," Kern said. "You can't sell toothpaste without sex. Our society is obsessed with sex. And I will tell you this, the American Library Association is out to sexualize our children."

And here's another opinion:

Rep. Glen Bud Smithson, D-Sallisaw, opposed the bill because it doesn't give libraries an appeals process to fight a loss of funding. He likened the bill to legislation Osama bin Laden likely would support, saying "that is the way they do it over there. They teach them what they want to teach them and nothing else."

The bill goes on to the Senate now.

Oklahoma Bill receives further amendments. Vote expected today.

The Oklahoma House is set to vote on a finalized version of HB2158. The full text of the bill includes new changes:

1.B.1 "Homosexual subject mater [sic]" means content that relates to the recruiting and advocating of same gender sexual relationships...
1.B.2 "Sexually explicit subject matter" means content that describes or depicts sexual conduct... in specific and graphic detail so that a prurient interest in sex is promoted. Sexually explicit subject matter shall not mean content that merely mentions or references sexual conduct....

The law also includes a new section creating a State Library Material Content Advisory Board, which, "...shall annually develop a recommended list of child and young adult materials that contain homosexual or sexually explicit subject matter..." to be segregated within the library. This board will include two Representatives, two Senators, four parents, and four teachers, chosen by the legislative leadership.
There is still no provision for the enormous expense of issuing new library cards to every patron in the state, nor of constructing "...a special area of the library which is separate and apart from the children and young adult sections of the library..." in every public library building.
Note earlier LISNews coverage

The Little Men Who Love Little House

Emily Bazelon Just Had Another Boy. The conventional educational wisdom holds that boys don't like to read about girls. If a book has a girl on the cover, it's toast, no matter how adventure-filled or well written. And this isn't a phenomenon of puberty.

To her relief, she found that most advocates of boy reading aren't so narrow-minded. They are not trying to direct boys toward a list of masculine titles;in fact, they're refreshingly skeptical about assigned reading in the first place. Instead, their aim is to enliven the standard fare for both genders. What they have discovered is that many boys like so-called "girl" books, but for different reasons than girls do.

Oklahoma Book Segregation Update: Newspaper, Library Commission speak out

In an update to the story I posted earlier today, the Tulsa City-County Library has added a page of links about the legislation to its website. It includes links to the current text of the bill and the relevant statutes, but also has TCCL's official position statement. The library commission's chairman has this to say:

The public library distributes books and other media which are broadly representative of human thought. In a diverse, pluralistic democracy not everyone will believe or like what they read. Library materials are representative of all social, political, religious and cultural points of views. Homosexuality is a reality. What would prevent other topics of reality from becoming off limits to young people who are free citizens entitled to free exercise of speech and thought?

Oklahoma libraries also gained an ally in one of the state's major newspapers. The Daily Oklahoman published an editorial on Friday condemning the legislation.

We find it ironic that the bill said each policy should "reflect the contemporary community standard of the community the library is located in." In putting the bill on a path to becoming law, lawmakers are taking away such local control and substituting it with their judgment. It's not the Legislature's job to tell libraries which books to stock and where to put them. Local library boards are capable of making decisions on whether restricted access is necessary.


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