Censorship

The Hong Kong Bookseller Who's Keeping 'Banned' Books On His Shelves

In Hong Kong's densely packed Causeway Bay district, a red sign with a portrait of Chairman Mao looms over the bustling storefronts and shoppers. The sign indicates that there is coffee, books and Internet on offer inside.

Customers go past a window where travelers can exchange foreign currencies, up a narrow staircase and into a room stacked high with books. The walls are painted red and decked out with 1960s Cultural Revolution propaganda posters and other Mao-era memorabilia. The aroma of coffee and the sound of jazz waft over the book-browsing customers.

This is the People's Bookstore (in Chinese, "People's Commune"), run by Hong Kong entrepreneur Paul Tang. Tang got his start selling Chinese-language books from the mainland in 2002. A year later, China's government began allowing individual mainland travelers to visit Hong Kong. Previously, they were only allowed to go in tour groups.

http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/02/03/465284407/the-hong-kong-bookseller-whos-kee...

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Amid Controversy, Scholastic Pulls Picture Book About Washington's Slave

After a torrent of criticism, Scholastic has decided to stop distributing A Birthday Cake for George Washington, a picture book about one of George Washington's slaves.

The historical book tells the story of Hercules, a slave used by the president as his chef. It shows Hercules and his daughter Delia happy and taking pride in making Washington a birthday cake.

Almost as soon as the book was released, it received withering criticism for whitewashing the history of slavery.

The review in Kirkus noted that the book contained images of smiling slaves in almost every page. But it cautioned that this was not the same kind of story that had played out just months before when A Fine Dessert, another story about happy slaves making sweet treats, was eviscerated by critics.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/01/18/463488364/amid-controversy-scholastic-pull...

In response to controversy, hundreds pack Mount Horeb library for reading of transgender book

MOUNT HOREB — In a turnout that stunned organizers, nearly 600 people filled the library here Wednesday night to hear a public reading of a children’s book about a transgender girl, with many in the crowd expressing strong support for a local family with a transgender child.

From http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/education/in-response-to-controversy-hundreds-pack-mount-horeb-library-for/article_095da109-0caf-534e-9879-3cb4e0c769ee.html

Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from MI book fair

Parents who want their children to have the latest Captain Underpants novel can either mail an order to Scholastic or purchase the book online.

“I support the decision of the parent group and the principal for handling it this way,” said Martin in calling the move “appropriate.”

Martin said this was not an attempt to censor what books are available. Instead, it was an effort to ensure that parents are involved in what might be viewed as a controversial topic for their kids.

From Newest "Captain Underpants" banned from local book fair - WXYZ.com

Metadata that kills

Descriptive metadata is never neutral. It reflects our understanding of our society, and our interpretation of how we think the world should be. It is unavoidably evocative of not just a book, film, or song, but rather the whole society which gave it genesis. When developed, particularly Western, countries wind up determining codes and classifications, a very specific illustration of the world is drawn which is a slim sliver of human understanding of the world.

From Metadata that kills — Medium

Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West

"It seems to me the battle for free expression was won 100 years ago," the 68-year-old told an audience at the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair, under heavy security.
"The fact that we have to go on fighting this battle is the result of a number of regrettable, more recent phenomena."

From Rushdie warns of new dangers to free speech in West - Yahoo News Canada

I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

While we now have several trivial and frivolous national events such a as National Coffee Day or Talk Like a Pirate Day, events that bring attention to real issues – like Banned Book Week – are too often overlooked.

Ultimately, a banned book cuts at the heart of what makes a free democracy work. As Noam Chomsky said during a 1992 BBC interview, “If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.”

From I’m a Librarian Who Banned a Book. Here’s Why.

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Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

It is not, nor will it ever be, one parent’s duty to parent for the entirety of a group of children. Their job is to watch their child an their child alone. In the instance of Some Girls Are, one parent managed to get a book pulled as an option from a list because she felt it was “smut.” Where it would make sense to tell her child to instead read a different book, she could find no peace in that. She wanted this book removed as an option for all readers.

From Rising to the Challenge: How the Book Internet Delivered

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

Harris Poll: Number of Americans Who Support Book Banning Increases

From The Guardian: "Are Americans Falling in Love with Censorship?

"[A] Harris poll of 2,244 US adults was released in July, revealing that, in the space of four years, the percentage of Americans believing that some books should be completely banned has increased by more than half. In 2011, 18% of those surveyed wanted some books banned; in 2015, 28% agreed with the assertion. Just under a half, 48%, said that no books should be banned, compared with 56% in 2011."

More in-depth breakdowns at The Guardian and Harris.

Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school

One grandparent, Lisa Baptist, said the book is inappropriate for young students. "I've been called a racist. I’ve been called a bigot, and I am none of those things," she said. "This is nothing more than bringing homosexuality into a school where it does not belong."

From Gay-themed children's book challenged in North Carolina school - LA Times

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