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Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009.
Post your plans & or activities in a comment below please.
Interesting analysis from Philip Nel's blog Nine Kinds of Pie:
When I posted news of my “Censoring Children’s Literature” course last month, several people (well, OK, one person …maybe two) expressed an interest in hearing more about the course. So, given that Banned Books Week is coming up next week, here’s an update. Having lately been examining two versions of Hugh Lofting’s Doctor Dolittle (1920, 1988) and three versions of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964, 1973, 1998), we’ve been addressing this question: Do Bowdlerized texts alter the ideological assumptions of the original? The answer is more complicated than you might think.
Blog entry here.
From Alaska Dispatch:
Alaska librarians and bookstore owners are nervous about new laws they say stifle Alaskans' First Amendment rights -- and after trying unsuccessfully to address their concerns with the governor, they say they've got no choice but to sue.
Despite warnings that their attempts to crack down on the ability of sexual predators to entice minors online were seriously flawed, this spring Alaska state legislators and Gov. Sean Parnell went ahead and passed changes to Alaska law that critics claim are unconstitutional.
Senate Bill 222, sponsored by Parnell and introduced to the Legislature at his request, is intended to toughen the state's human trafficking, sex offense and child pornography laws through increased jail time and more ways for cops to close in on offenders. At the bill signing earlier this year, Parnell touted the legislation, in concert with other crime bills passed that same day, as a package of laws that "better protects children and all victims of assault."
Incidentally, the anonymous poster who sent in this news item wrote that his/her submission triggered the installed spam filter on the computer and would not be accepted.
Stockton MO -- The Stockton Missouri school board voted unanimously Wednesday night to uphold its April decision to ban a book from the school curriculum. The 7-0 vote came after a public forum about the novel, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.
The board also voted, 7-2, against a proposal to return the book to the high school library with restrictions.
Board member Rod Tucker said his main concern was the book's language, that it had too much profanity to be of value. He rejected the argument that most kids are familiar with such language and use it regularly. [ed- note to Rod Tucker: don't forget you live in the 'show me' state]
Supporters of the book said it was chosen to get high school boys, particularly, interested in reading. Another board member said that was a mistake because the book's reading level is low for high school readers. "We're dumbing down our educational standards if we do that," Ken Spurgeon said.
Cheryl Marcum, a resident who had pushed the board to explain and reverse its decision, was disappointed by the vote. She said she's heard about the issue from young people who have left Stockton.
"They said, 'I left Stockton because stuff like that happens there,'" she said.
There was an e-book burning held.
There was a speech about the evils of the book. And the crowd cheered because they believed what they had been told about evil.
Then the reading device was raised high so that all could see, but not very much because the print was so small on the screen even though they had chosen the largest font available. Someone in the crowd commented that they would have been able to see the cover image so much better on his iPad.
The Leader opened the Content Manager from the Menu. The buttons were small, so it was a little difficult.
Then Selected the Title.
Then Selected Remove Selected Item and Confirmed the removal. No one in the crowd was sure that anything had happened, but they cheered anyway.
There were no flames. There was no Press coverage. No spectacle.
With e-books, you can burn the device, but you can't burn the book.
What will tyrants do?
From American Libraries: Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book. Gen. David Petraeus had personally pleaded with the reverend to restrain himself because of the potential for retaliatory violence.
Meanwhile, the American Library Association and librarians across the country will move the Qur’an to the top of the Banned Books Week agenda. (Leading the way by modeling tolerance, an Oklahoma public library has been hosting an exhibit of artwork inspired by Muslim tradition.)
“Free people read freely,” says Barbara Jones, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “That is a fundamental principle of the American Constitution and a basic mission of public libraries. We don’t burn books, we read them.”
Thanks to Jenny Levine for the lead.
Craigslist has apparently closed the adult services section of its website, two weeks after 17 state attorneys general demanded it shut down the section.
The section had been replaced Saturday by a black and white "censored" logo.
UPDATE According to the Houston Observer, the scheduled festival has BEEN CANCELLED in its entirely, due to the number of participants who have chosen not to attend.
The Teen Lit Fest in Humble is a huge deal for renowned writers of young adult fiction and the kids they're writing for. Which is why it's a huge deal that half of the authors have dropped out of the January 2011 festival.
It all started when an Humble ISD librarian complained to some influential parents about New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins, who was scheduled to appear at the festival. (Hopkins writes about cheery subjects like drug addiction, suicide, and religious intolerance.) Houston Press reports.
Those parents then allegedly bent the ear of Superintendent Guy Sconzo, who ordered another librarian to uninvite Hopkins -- even though she had already appeared at two of the festivals Humble-area high schools, without causing any of the teenagers to slit their wrists, become pregnant, or turn to prostitution to subsidize chronic substance-abuse problems.
When fellow writer and invitee Pete Hautman heard about it, he decided to drop out of the festival, and, according to his blog three more writers have dropped out -- Melissa de la Cruz, Tara Lynn Childs and Matt de la Pena. -- Read More
Critics of a decision to pull a gay-themed book from two local libraries will stage a protest this weekend -- by reading aloud from the controversial work.
Sunday's free show at a Cinnaminson theater marks the South Jersey debut of a theater group that supports the book, "Revolutionary Voices" an anthology of first-person pieces by gay youths.
Brandon Monokian, a 23-year-old actor-director from Passaic County, formed the group after the book was ordered removed in May from the library at Rancocas Valley Regional High School in Mount Holly. That decision followed a citizen's complaint over the book's sexual content. "Revolutionary Voices," which won an award when it was published in 1990, also was removed this spring from the Burlington County Library.
"This book is a valuable resource to youths who might have questions about their lives, and the fact that a small group of people could have it banned is upsetting," said Monokian, a Lumberton native and a 2005 graduate of Rancocas Valley.
Here's an editorial from the South Brunswick Post in response to the book having been removed from both school and public libraries.
Google said it was the first time the site had been blocked since March.