Writers Write About Censorship

Excerpt from "Places I Never Meant To Be" Original Stories By Censored Writers; Edited and Introduction by Judy Blume. Blume tells the story of how she circumnavigated the naysayers to read her first book by John O'Hara. Not a new title (2001), but definitely one worth reading.

From the Introduction: When I was growing up I’d heard that if a movie or book was “Banned in Boston” everybody wanted to see it or read it right away. My older brother, for example, went to see such a movie -- The Outlaw, starring Jane Russell -- and I wasn’t supposed to tell my mother. I begged him to share what he saw, but he wouldn’t. I was intensely curious about the adult world and hated the secrets my parents, and now my brother, kept from me.

A few years later, when I was in fifth grade, my mother was reading a novel called A Rage to Live, by John O’Hara, and for the first time (and, as it turned out, the only time) in my life, she told me I was never to look at that book, at least not until I was much older. Once I knew my mother didn’t want me to read it, I figured it must be really interesting!

Darkness Too Visible

Piece in the WSJ: Darkness Too Visible - Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?

Response at EarlyWord: There they go again

Closing School Libraries

It's all part of a whole. Cut libraries and librarians at schools, and children will be less comfortable utilizing their local public libraries. Cut libraries and librarians in the public library system, and children and parents will be less likely to use and support their school and community libraries. And so on and so on....

Here's a letter to the editor from a public librarian in Ontario, Canada that sums up the issues:

Closing a school library is not just an issue for schools. Library programs at schools foster a love of reading, and develop information, research literacy and critical thinking skills. They allow kids to learn about their world, and to explore and develop their own interests. The lack of these skills among students will have a big impact on both the public and academic library, as well as on society.

A major Canadian study from People for Education and Queen’s University has found that having a school library improves test scores, and schools with teacher librarians have more positive attitudes toward reading; while schools with no professional librarian have lower reading scores. As school libraries and librarians become fewer, the impact on public libraries and society as a whole will grow.

We will be raising a generation of children who don’t read, leading to a generation of adults who won’t read, and who won’t know how to find information or critically evaluate the information that they do find.

A Censorship Issue

Well, after almost 15 years of having the store, it has happened. A customer asked me to remove a book from my shelves.

This has never happened before. We’ve had people move books they thought were objectionable, but never has someone looked me in the eye and said, “Are you the owner? I want you to remove this book because it makes fun of childhood sexual abuse.” I apologized that she found the book objectionable and gave her a refund.

The book in question is My First Dictionary: Corrupting Young Minds OneWord at a Time by Ross Horsley. Does this book cross the line of good taste? Sometimes, sure it does. But honestly, so do lots of humor books. Parts of the book are laugh-out-loud funny, and parts of it made me cringe. I try to warn customers that sometimes it’s a little bleak. There are some letters about abandonment and parental drinking that seem particularly cruel.

Full blog post


No Love for "Lovingly Alice" as School District Removes Book

A Paradise Valley, AZ mother is upset that her daughter was subjected to Lovingly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

"If you looked on the cover, it's just a very young cute girl on the cover," Lockhart said. "My (incoming) second-grader can pick this book up and think, 'This is a cute book.' There needs to be some sort of warning label."

Officials with the Paradise Valley Unified School District have pulled the book from their shelves.

More from AZCentral.

Oak Harbor mom upset over book

From q13fox: An Oak Harbor mom is upset with a book her fifth-grade daughter brought home from school. It's called "What's the Big Secret" and is available at many public schools. "I can't even stand that she had already read this without me even knowing," said Jennifer Swedeoson. Swedeoson had planned to have "the birds and the bees" talk with her 10-year-old daughter Kaleigh when she reached middle school. But that timeline changed when Kaleigh brought the book home from school yesterday. "I start flipping through, this is all right, but then it starts talking more about sex and I get into it and it's completely too graphic for her." "What's the Big Secret" shows how boys and girls are physically different, offers a lesson in reproduction and talks about "different types of touching." "This is one of the first that definitely caught my eye, talking about masturbation when you are 10 years old," Swedeoson said. "What do you need to read that for? I'm not so upset about the book itself. I think they should be sending home permission slips, making sure parents are aware that the book is there.” Full story

How a kid's essay contest on "The Future Library" showed me that maybe we AREN'T doomed after all

The Library of the Future
"What does the future of the library look like? It depends on you."
She's right. I couldn't have said it better myself. It doesn't matter if she's talking to kids, adults, patrons, politicians, or librarians. We all need to keep working, keep advocating, keep changing, keep growing. We need to work together to bring libraries into the future.

Fundraiser to Pay Children's Fines

In Spokane, WA a group of civic and literary minded folks are planning a fundraiser to pay off the fines and fees on children's library cards so they can use them again. The local libraries block cards from use if they carry a balance of $10 or more. By paying off these fines, the group raises money for the library and opens up blocked cards so kids can once again borrow books.

Brief story.

Writer of Redwall Series, Dies at 71

From the NYT

Brian Jacques, Writer of Redwall Series, Dies at 71
Published: February 9, 2011

He was a longshoreman and a long-haul trucker; a merchant mariner and a railway fireman; a boxer, a bus driver and a British bobby. But it wasn’t until he became a milkman that Brian Jacques found his métier.......Read more here

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