In the twenty years since Harry Potter first arrived on the publishing scene, J.K. Rowling’s boy wizard series has faced more than its share of attempts to see the books limited, banned or even burned.
Throughout his long career as an author, Myers wrote picture books, young adult novels, biographies, poetry and much more. His only (self-imposed) limitation was that he be true to his own identity and experiences.
Use the many resources available to you to make this Banned Books Week one of the best yet! Be sure to stay tuned to announcements from the Office of Intellectual Freedom with more details as we get closer to the date.
As I get ready to celebrate Harry Potter’s 31st birthday on July 31 (yes, the book was published twenty years ago, but his “real” birthday is July 31, and he was eleven when he was “born” into the literary landscape), I’ve decided to indulge myself in a little fanfic interview with the adult Chosen One about intellectual freedom.
On June 26, 2017, hearings began in the U.S. District Court for Arizona to decide the fate of Tucson’s Unified School District’s Mexican American Studies program. It has been seven years for this educational program to get its day in court. That’s at least two generations of high-school students, who because of narrow minded political concerns, were denied the right to study their own origins.
If we are truly standing for intellectual freedom, which includes the freedom to read, we must also extend our efforts to people in prison. While outrage on behalf of censorship in schools or public libraries is easier in many ways, if we ignore this issue in Texas prisons, we are absolutely neglecting the over 2 million Americans imprisoned nationwide.
Former ALA President Ann Symons said it well in explaining that a materials challenge is a trip to hell, something that you wouldn’t want to wish on your worst enemy. However, I believe that facing the experience with honest communication and an understanding of the right of each person to their particular viewpoint are the keys to navigating the journey successfully. My parents taught me to stand up for I believed in and supporting intellectual freedom and universal access are, for me, core beliefs.
It’s clear that for many people, S.E. Hinton’s books were the first books they truly loved. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, her books have endured, and without her, we may not have the wealth of YA literature we have today.
To this date, Chris has written 14 books — all have been challenged or banned. Yes, every single book he’s published has been challenged and many of them banned in classrooms. That alone should have you running to the CRU shelf of your library’s young adult section.
Last week, the California Library Association announced this year’s inductees into the California Library Hall of Fame. One of them is Tessa Kelso, the sixth head librarian of the Los Angeles Public Library. It’s worth looking back at this formidable librarian and an unusual episode in the history of intellectual freedom where she took the offensive against a would-be book burner by suing him… and winning.