Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Books, Children's Literature (all forms), Committees, Intellectual Freedom

Respect

Respect is a theme that kept popping up in my recent reading. I’m catching up on some middle-school fiction and dealing with demeaning, diminishing and disrespectful behavior from peers and adults is a motif that recurs over and over. Of course, it’s an issue that persists into the adult world. How people communicate on social media and in the comments section in traditional media has gotten lots of attention recently.  Freedom of speech is easier to love if the speech isn’t directed at you.

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Books, Children's Literature (all forms), Collection Development, Evaluation of Media

That’s Not Fair!

I’ve been looking for some recently published books that explain human rights to children. I was fortunate enough to come across That’s Not Fair!: Getting to Know Your Rights and Freedoms, written by Danielle S. McLaughlin, illustrated by Dharmali Patel of Little Blackstone Studios Inc. and published by Kids Can Press (www.kidscanpress.com). This new title is a part of the Citizen Kid Series (www.CitizenKidCentral.com) and is also based on a Canadian six-episode video series called “That’s Not Fair!” which was written and produced by the Canadian Civil Liberties Education Trust (www.thatsnotfair.ca). While this book and its animated series is based on Canadian rights, they still stand true when it comes to American rights. The CCLET’s premise is, “If your child is old enough to say, ‘That’s not fair!’, they are old enough to learn about their basic human rights.” Councilor Bug would like to welcome you to his city where…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Intellectual Freedom, Slice of Life, Uncategorized

Self-Censorship: A Reflection

As the children’s librarian at my branch I interact with hundreds of kids.  I’ve had parents tell me they appreciate the impact I have on their kids, both as people and as readers. I feel that in some way, it is my job to show them all the ideas and viewpoints out there, so they can be better citizens of the world. A few weeks ago, a colleague and I were getting ready to head to a school visit.  We had been prepping for this for a while now. Each of us picked books that we thought would resonate with the tweens in our Boston neighborhood.  A few days before, my colleague approached me and told me she wasn’t going to be utilizing one of the graphic novels she originally picked because throughout the book, there were numerous images of the main character smoking.   She didn’t want the tweens receiving…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Call to Action, Child Advocacy, Children's Literature (all forms), Evaluation of Media, Intellectual Freedom

Reviews & Common Sense Media

During late March and early April, the ALSC Discussion List was active with comments and concerns around Common Sense Media (CSM) and that organization’s reviews of children’s materials.  I followed this discussion with particular interest for two reasons. First, the organization is located in the city where I work.  Second, when they were just getting started, members of the organization came to our library to meet with us to discuss their values and seek our support.   We declined as we believed that their practice of labeling was in violation of the ALA Bill of Rights and the core values of library services for children. I do not intend to rehash all of the comments and statements of the online discussion (sigh of relief on your part!).  Hopefully, most of you followed it and certainly many of you actively participated.  I found it to be a robust and lively exchange.  That…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Child Advocacy, Children's Literature (all forms), Evaluation of Media, Intellectual Freedom

Challenged Caldecotts & This One Summer

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) published an article in December 2015 summarizing their top ten graphic novels that they defended that year from potential challenges. The 2015 Caldecott Honor winner, This One Summer, was not only the first graphic novel to be honored by the Caldecott Committee, it was also one of the most frequently challenged graphic novels that the CBLDF found itself defending during 2015.   After reading this article, I was curious. How long has it been since a Newbery or Caldecott Honoree has been challenged in connection with its status as an award winner? I wanted to know publication dates related to book challenges, rather than how often something was challenged. Online searches resulted in popular titles like Maurice Sendak’s 1964 Caldecott Award Winner Where The Wild Things Are and his 1971 Caldecott Honor Winner, In the Night Kitchen.  But it was the Newbery titles that repeatedly filled my search…

Blogger Intellectual Freedom Committee, Books, Children's Literature (all forms), Collection Development, Evaluation of Media, Intellectual Freedom

Discomforting Books

The recent controversy over A BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR GEORGE WASHINGTON provoked me to think about how we should react when a book that is already in our collection proves unsettling, hurtful or insulting to some readers. I don’t want to rehash the discussions around Scholastic’s withdrawal of A BIRTHDAY CAKE. Rather, I’d like us to talk about whether and why we retain books—often considered classics—which are offensive to some in our society. Of course, there are a multitude of reasons why readers object to certain books, but to focus our discussion, I’ll concentrate on a few books which have been criticized for racial, ethnic, or religious insensitivity (or worse). Here’s a short list: Banks, Lynne Reid.  THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD (series) Bannerman, Helen.  LITTLE BLACK SAMBO Bishop, Claire.  THE FIVE CHINESE BROTHERS Brink, Carol Ryrie.  CADDIE WOODLAWN Clinton, Cathryn.  A STONE IN MY HAND Harris, Joel Chandler.  TALES OF UNCLE…