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Censorship

Judy Platt Celebrates 35 Years at AAP

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Judy Platt with Salman Rushdie, Sept 2004

Judy Platt is celebrating her 35th anniversary at The Association of American Publishers. The organization honored Platt with a lunch in DC today. As Director, Free Expression Advocacy, Platt heads up the AAP’s Freedom to Read Committee and the AAP’s International Freedom to Publish Committee.

In her tenure with the group, Platt has led the AAP’s advocacy work against book censorship since before Banned Books Week started 32 years ago. She has been the AAP’s liaison with Banned Books Weeks since the movement began. During that time, Platt has seen book censorship movements evolve.

“I’d say that  in my early years at AAP the majority of censorship was focused on sexually explicit materials, or ‘pornography’ and efforts were  made to keep such materials away from adults as well as minors on the questionable assumption that access to such materials resulted in anti-social behavior,” she told GalleyCat via email. Read more

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Comics Take Center Stage For This Year’s Banned Books Week Celebration

banned-comicsThe American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression will celebrate Banned Books Week from September 21st to September 27th.

The organization plans to shine a spotlight on graphic novels and comics. Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, had this statement in a press release: “This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship.”

The American Library Association recently revealed the top ten list of most frequently challenged books for this year. Jeff Smith’s comic series, Bone, occupies the #10 spot. Earlier this year, Smith designed the cover for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Handbook. Follow this link to access a free digital copy. Check out the entire list after the jump.

Read more

Publishers Events During Banned Books Week

fafabuttonNext week is Banned Books Week and to help you celebrate, the Associate of American Publishers has put together a list of ways to participate in the celebration of censored book titles. AAP members Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster have each created a way to help readers engage in the event, whose goal it is to promote the freedom to read.

Hachette is calling readers to share how a banned book has impacted their lives on the HBG Facebook page. HarperCollins is supporting online discussion forums on Epic Reads which will encourage discussions around banned books. Macmillan has created a website dedicated to The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, two previously banned books. Penguin Young Readers Group is encouraging readers to share selfies of themselves holding up a sign that reads, “I celebrate #BannedBooksWeek because …” and will give away prizes to participants. The publisher will also join in several #BannedBooksWeekTwitter chats during the week. Read more

Canadian Prisons Are Cutting Access to Reading

002-4012Prisons across Canada are cutting back on inmate access to libraries. This unfortunate occurrence is the result of overcrowded prisons (which makes it difficult to move prisoners around) and budget cuts, which limit reading materials.

CBC News has the scoop: “Last year, the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Sask., didn’t extend a contract with the region’s library service, shutting down access for inmates. The library was open five days per week in the afternoons and evenings and inmates would borrow, on average, about 50 items per day. The program cost about $70,000 a year.”

Canadian prisoners aren’t the only inmates having issues obtaining books. British justice ministers have recently made it more difficult for prisoners in England and Wales to have family and friends send them books.

Aldi Australia Pulls Roald Dahl Book From Shelves

UnknownGrocery store chain Aldi has pulled Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Revolting Rhymes from bookshelves in its stores in Australia after a customer complained  on Facebook that the book includes the word ‘slut.’

“Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds. My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads! How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun? The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut? Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’,”  reads the nursery rhyme.

The store’s move has caused an uproar among Aldi customers, who have been commenting negatively about the censorship on the store’s Facebook page. “Is it true that you withdrew Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’ (an all-time classic from one of the world’s most popular children’s authors EVER) after ONE complaint? SHAME, ALDI, SHAME!,” wrote one Facebook user. “It is on every public library shelf, and in most schools. No one HAS to read it or buy it – don’t show ignorance and weakness by depriving other customers.” (Via The Guardian).

 

Banned Books Week T-Shirts

bannedbookstshirtBanned Books Week is right around the corner. This year the celebration of censored books will take place from September 21st to 27th.

To celebrate, designer Anne Simon has create a t-shirt promoting the event and is selling them on Zazzle for $37.95 each. The t-shirsts come in a variety of colors and styles.

For more information about Banned Books Week, check out our post How to Participate in Banned Books Week.

English Teacher Under Investigation For Writing Fiction Featuring School Shootings

theinsurrectionistA school district in Maryland has placed an 8th grade English teacher on administrative leave after finding out that the teacher had written two works of fiction which dealt with the subject of school shootings.

Patrick McLaw, published two books under the pseudonym Dr. K.S. Voltaer – The Insurrectionist and Lilith’s Heir. The books deal with a fictitious high school shooting set in the year 2902 in which 947 people are killed.

McLaw is not allowed on campus until the school and local law enforcement investigate the matter. Here is more from RT.com:

“While on administrative leave, he is not allowed to come onto school property or participate in school events,” the statement continues. “Mr. McLaw’s teaching duties have been assigned to qualified personnel to insure the smooth transition of students into the fall semester.” Additionally, Wager wrote that an officer from the Cambridge Police Department will be at Mace’s Lane middle school “for as long as we deem it necessary.”

How to Participate in Banned Books Week

unnamedBanned Books Week (BBW) is coming up next month and the American Booksellers Foundation For Free Expression is encouraging booksellers, librarians, authors, publishers and teachers to get involved.

The theme of this year’s event, which runs Sept. 21-27, is the censorship of graphic novels and comic books. Booksellers are encouraged to promote specific banned titles. Here is more information on how booksellers can participate:

Booksellers have always played a key role in Banned Books Week by creating displays that show customers that some of their favorite books are under attack. For the second year, ABFFE and Ingram Content Group are making it easy for booksellers to mount their displays by distributing a free promotional kit that contains everything they need. To qualify, booksellers choose 30 or more titles from 450 banned and challenged titles listed on Ingram’s iPage. They also receive additional discounts on initial and subsequent orders.

Texas Pastor Urges Library to Pull Twilight Books

NewmoonA pastor in Texas has filed a complaint about vampire books in the YA section of his local library and asked that the titles be removed. Rachel Mead’s Blood Promise, Matsuri Hino’s Vampire Knight and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series were all cited in his complaint.

Pastor Phillip Missick claims that the titles are “dark,” “sexual” and “dangerous for our kids.” ABC News has more:

Cleveland City Manager Kelly McDonald declined an interview but we have Library Director, Mary Cohn’s response to Missick’s complaint, as well as to a petition he had signed by a handful of local pastors. She noted only five percent of all the 1,500 titles in the teen section deal with occult, vampires and the supernatural, and then spoke to the mission of a public library saying materials should not be chosen or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

British Justice Ministers Defend Prison Book Ban

bookstack304British justice ministers have defended their push to prevent prisoners in England and Wales from having family and friends send them books.

They argue that prisoners can earn the right to buy books through the prison’s book selling program through a new ”incentives and earned privileges” regime.

The Guardian has more: “Justice ministry officials say lifting the ban on sending in books would undermine the basis of the new regime. The prisons minister, Jeremy Wright, said: ‘The notion that we are banning books in prisons is complete nonsense. All prisoners can have up to 12 books in their cells at any one time, and all prisoners have access to the prison library. ‘Under the incentives and earned privileges scheme, if prisoners engage with their rehabilitation and comply with the regime, they can have greater access to funds to buy items, including books.’”

Writers have called the move barbaric, stressing the importance of reading as part of a prisoner’s rehabilitation.

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