ACLU challenges Cleveland Heights Schools over Removal of Nintendo Magazine from Library

A principal's decision to remove a magazine from a middle-school library has drawn criticism for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school board from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU said the First Amendment was violated when Brian Sharosky, principal of Roxboro Middle School, confiscated the November issue of Nintendo Power magazine. The magazine covers the world of Nintendo video games, from previews and ratings to secret codes and short cuts.

"Literature should not be removed from a school library simply because one person may find it inappropriate," said Christine Link, ACLU of Ohio executive director, in a statement last week. She called for the board to "immediately order that the magazine be reinstated."

Sharosky deemed that particular issue unsuitable for students in grades six to eight because of a "violent figure" on the cover and content about a game that's rated for mature audiences, according to district spokesman Michael Dougherty

The librarian objected, maintaining that staff members -- including the principal -- are supposed to follow the policy for challenging a publication. That starts with submitting a form to the superintendent and ends with a decision by the school board.

Most Portland Schools Don't have Certified Librarians

If, as advocates say, the library should be the "living room" of a school, the place where kids can ask questions, find what they're passionate about and expand their world view, Portland Public Schools leaders acknowledge they're overdue for a change.

Some kids barely know how to find books and check them out. Others rarely visit the library without teacher prompts. Students have limited access and little familiarity.

Superintendent Carole Smith wants to fix that. In her budget released last week, Smith is requiring all traditional schools, about 75, to staff their libraries for at least 20 hours a week.

Portland was rated tenth in CCSU's America's Most Literate Cities in 2008.

Librarian fights to make sure all kids are represented in books

Kathleen Horning is director of the UW-Madison's Cooperative Children's Book Center, a non-circulating research library devoted solely to books for kids. "She just excels at mentoring young librarians," said Schliesman, who like Horning started as a student staffer. "This is a really important profession that has a huge impact on the lives of children and families in this country. She is looking for people who can carry that idea forward, people that she sees potential in."

Banning books: keeping our children safe from the perils of free thinking

Burning books is not funny. Neither is banning them, or challenging their right to sit on a library shelf. That being said, sometimes people find reasons to hate books that are so absurd, Meghara Eichhorn-Hicks can’t help laughing. It is in this spirit of mocking exasperation that she presents a list of books that have been banned, burned or challenged for totally ridiculous reasons.

New law could cost U.S. libraries thousands or worse, ban children

Coshocton Tribune - Coshocton,OH: Coshocton Public Library Children's Librarian Diane Jones is watching and waiting. Over the next year it will be determined if all of the library's children's books will need to be tested for lead, if children 12 and under will have to be banned or, best case scenario, neither has to happen.

Children's Author Rosemary Wells Salutes Librarians and Teachers

Author Rosemary Wells made a lot of people feel good about themselves at the Staten Island Historical Society Literacy Leadership luncheon at the Excelsior Grand, New Dorp.

The creator of beloved characters such as sibling bunnies Max and Ruby stressed the importance of reading to children every day and praised the people who help make that possible.

"Without teachers and librarians, our world as writers would be very small. Because of you, the world of ideas is open to all children," she said. The author of some 60 books lauded the society's honoree, Robert (Bobaloo) Basey, for his work as a storyteller.

"When you go around to schools and libraries, you are a living book and that is a wonderful life to live," she said.

Telling a story about building bridges, and performing his own exit music on a flute, Basey, a teaching artist and Stapleton native, expressed his gratitude for "getting a boost to hang in there. It's a challenge with arts funding being cut."

A major Max and Ruby fan, Robyn Busan, 7, was there to meet Ms. Wells. She is also a child who is being given, in Ms. Wells' words, the "gift of thought and language" by being read to.

"I like that he [Max] doesn't really talk much," said the first-grader at PS 65.

"And he doesn't listen," said her father, Robert, who was obviously benefiting from the daily reading sessions he and his wife share with their daughter.

The Law Formerly Known as 'No Child Left Behind'?

Report from the NYTimes: Two years ago, an effort to fix No Child Left Behind, the main federal law on public schools provoked a grueling slugfest in Congress, leading Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, to say the law had become “the most negative brand in America.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan agrees. “Let’s rebrand it,” he said in an interview. “Give it a new name.” And before Mr. Duncan has had time to float a single name, scores of educators, policy wonks and assorted rabble-rousers have rushed in with an outpouring of proposals.

A blog contest to rename the No Child Left Behind law has received entries like the Rearranging the Deck Chairs Act and the Teach to the Test Act. Here's the website sponsoring the contest. So far, 216 suggestions have been made.

It's on the Internet, So It's Got To Be Right

Not necessarily.

And that's the lesson that Stephanie Rosalia was teaching her students at P.S. 225 in Brooklyn. The website they were looking at, All About Explorers, is intentionally peppered with false facts.

Ms. Rosalia, the school librarian at Public School 225, a combined elementary and middle school in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, urged caution. “Don’t answer your questions with the first piece of information that you find,” she warned. Story from the NYTimes.

Scholastic Accused of Misusing Book Clubs

Scholastic Inc., the children’s publisher of favorites like the Harry Potter, Goosebumps and Clifford series, may be best known for its books, but a consumer watchdog group accuses the company of using its classroom book clubs to push video games, jewelry kits and toy cars.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, an advocacy group based in Boston, said that it had reviewed monthly fliers distributed by Scholastic last year and found that one-third of the items sold in these brochures were either not books or books packaged with other items.

Full article here.

Lead Law Exemption Gets Libraries Off the Hook

San Jose Mercury News reports that libraries are the latest organizations to win relief from a tough new federal law taking effect today that all but bans lead in children's products.

On Friday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission exempted children's books printed after 1985 from the new law's enforcement provisions, which allow fines of as much as $100,000 per violation for selling or distributing products that contain more than 600 parts per million of lead intended for use by children 12 and younger.

"We're jubilant," said Barbara Roberts, president of the California Library Association on Monday. Before the exemption, Roberts said libraries across the nation faced the prospect of closing their children's sections and discarding thousands of books from their collections. Roberts added that she was bewildered that lawmakers would pass a law with such broad reach "without thinking of the ramifications in the field."

There's a big exception though. Jennifer Baker, library director with the St. Helena Public Library in Napa Valley, said the law still puts off limits to children rare, older books. She said one library at which she worked kept a collection of Mother Goose books from the early 1900s, while others retain original copies of old classics, like those from the Nancy Drew or Tom Swift series, she said. I guess they'll have to wait til they're adults to enjoy the books.

Lead Law Could Cause Big Headaches for Libraries

Toys with dangerous levels of lead, toxic chemicals in clothing, hazardous baby cribs — the soon-to-be-enforced Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act aims to protect children from all of them.

But library books? Unless the Consumer Product Safety Commission exempts them from the sweeping legislation, libraries nationwide could be forced to pull children’s books from their shelves or, alternately, ban children. The law is scheduled to take effect on February 10.

“You’re talking about separating children from books, which has got to be the most ridiculous thing this commission has ever attempted,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association’s Washington office. “Books are safe. They are not a dangerous product.”

Paper cuts maybe...but lead? Kansas City Star reports.

Baby born at Denver library.

DENVER -- Within minutes of stepping off a bus Tuesday morning, a woman dropped a special package at the downtown Denver library -- a baby. <a href="">[rest of story here]</a> I don't know why a woman would take the bus to the library when she was clearly in labor.

SCOTUS Won't Save the Child Online Protection Act of 1998

scotusblog says The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused the federal government’s request to salvage a six-year-old law seeking to ban minors’ access to sexually explicit material on the World Wide Web. Acting on that law for the third time, the Justices simply declined to review a Third Circuit Court decision last July striking down the Child Online Protection Act of 1998. The Justices’ action came without comment and with no noted dissents in Mukasey v. American Civil Liberties Union, et al. (08-565).

Hoboken Tot Denied a Library Card Because of Illegible Signature

A mad Dad reports his unhappiness with the Hoboken NJ Public Library due to his four-year old son being denied a library card. Here's the story from Hoboken 411.

Letter-writer Dave Dessel goes on to say: "My wife called several libraries in the area, including Millburn, Maplewood, Summit and Ridgewood, to find out what their policies are. Every librarian she spoke with was appalled by HPL’s policy. One went so far as to say that the story was heartbreaking, and the policy archaic, the kind of thing that was done away with forty years ago.

I wonder if the library administration has changed much since On the Waterfront?"

Library Gives Homeschoolers a Place to Socialize While Learning

How do libraries benefit home schoolers?

One way is with read-aloud programs such as the one led last week by Donnie Storms at the the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick MD. Last week, Storms read Derek Anderson's book "Romeo and Lou Blast Off" with enthusiasm peppered with questions to his young audience at the event, "Kids Just Want to Have Fun." The activity was designed to engage homeschooled children in reading and learning about a specific topic. Last week, the book and activity that followed the reading were centered on the Arctic and Antarctic parts of the world.

Terry Tolentino of Huntingtown, a mother who was attending the event with her daughter, Katana, 6, said she found out about the workshop on the library's Web site. While this was Katana's first time attending the workshop, Terry Tolentino said she would "definitely" be coming to future events.

Storms said the library came up with the idea of the workshops in order to give homeschoolers a "chance to get out and meet other children who are homeschoolers."

The book, incidently, is about adventures shared by two friends, a penguin and a polar bear. There's a lesson in this...

Computer-esque books to lure boys

Something about this headline just creeps me out... Computer-esque books to lure boys : Books illustrated with computer- generated images are the latest attempt to get boys to enjoy reading.

A Children's Play That Imitates Life...Tomás and the Library Lady

A lot of people pay lip service to the wonders of books and libraries, then spend most of their free time playing video games. Tomás Rivera was one person who truly owed his amazing life to the power of books.

The child of Mexican migrant farm workers who didn't speak English, Tomás walked past his local library in Iowa every day, not knowing what it was. The librarian noticed him and finally came outside one day to invite him in. This began an unlikely friendship between a young boy and a stern librarian who shared a mutual passion for stories. The play was written by José Cruz González, playwright in residence at Childsplay in Arizona, and is based on the book of the same name by Pat Mora. Saar is the founder and artistic director of Childsplay. Here's an audio report about the play including snippets of dialogue.

A 16-week national tour began in Hampton, the Iowa town where Rivera learned to read, and in the audience were people who knew the Library Lady. Rivera's widow saw the show in Los Angeles, and Saar says she gave it her blessing. (Rivera died in 1984; UC-Riverside renamed its general library after him.)

Once upon a trying time: It might be a good time to update classic children's books

It's the question every parent dreads. "Mommy, what's a collateralized debt obligation?" Who wants to be outed as an ignoramus by a kid? But with economic news blanketing the airwaves, such conversations are becoming almost impossible to avoid. Perhaps we should update children's books in time for the holidays.

Goodnight, Citigroup: a short poem of rescue promises from a little treasury secretary trying to keep the economy from falling into a deep slumber.

Captain Underpants Doesn't Need a Newbery Medal

<blockquote> <p>Is the highest honor in children's literature, the Newbery medal, woefully out of touch? Yes, according to children's book expert Anita Silvey, who <a href="">made her case</a> in a recent issue of the School Library Journal.

A Favorite Children's Author Writes His Own Tale

...Knucklehead, by Jon Scieszcka. “Knucklehead” is Scieszka’s own tall tale, a memoir organized like a collection of snapshots about growing up with five brothers in the Flint, Mich., of the 1950’s. Ever the teacher, in this slim volume ­Scieszka writes a model memoir. Or as he puts it, when you are getting in trouble “it’s good to be the one telling the story.”

Scieszka gets children, and he gets their humor. Especially boy humor. He tells the truth about what really goes on when parents aren’t looking. Want to hear more? The book is reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review.

If you go in for crazy knuckleheaded kids stories, you might want to check out this accompanying blog from the paper entitled "Are You a Knucklehead"?.


Subscribe to RSS - Children