Sunday, June 12, 2016
An Important Conversation Around Censorship
"We don’t serve only our own children. We don’t serve the children of 1950. We don’t serve the children of some imaginary land where they are protected from the headlines. We serve real children in the real world. "
There is an important conversation around censorship going on in the Children's Literature community. If you haven't followed it, it is definitely a conversation we all need to be part of and one that needs to continue.
Phil Bildner, author of many books including A Whole New Ball Game and Marvelous Cornelius was uninvited to a school district where he's been speaking since 2007. This article at CBLFD states that last year during his visits as Bildner was recommending books to his audience, he included George in his book talks. During the second half of his visit he was asked not to mention the book and he was accompanied by an administrator for that part of his visit. The Intellectual Freedom Blog of ALA had a follow-up post along with some information from the Assistant Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom.
Later the same week, Kate Messner's book Seventh Wish was released. This is a middle grade novel about Charlie, a twelve-year old whose older sister has a drug addiction. Kate was also uninvited to a scheduled school visit. This was due to the content of her book. Another article about the issue is here.
There has been a huge follow-up conversation on social media and one that we all need to be aware of.
Kate Messner has two follow-up posts here and here that are worth reading. Kate Messner is a pro at writing about hard issues in a way that makes sense for middle grade readers. I am so thankful we have authors like Kate who have somehow figured out how to write perfectly for this age level.
Pernille Ripp has a must-read here.
Katherine Sokolowski has a follow-up post on censorship here.
There is a lot to work through in this conversation and I am glad that it is happening. I think our biggest job as teachers and librarians is to read widely. To know the books written for all students. And to have to have these conversations globally and locally.