By: guest blogger Andrea Jamison. The banning of Angie Thomas’s New York Times bestselling book, The Hate U Give, is another stark reminder that the message behind the Black Lives Matter movement has indeed fallen on deaf ears. Although officials from the Katy Independent School District in Texas affirm that the book is not technically banned but is under a “standard” procedural review, it is clear that the district circumvented their policies by removing copies of the book during this “review” process.
Hurston’s book was the first novel published by an African-American woman, and her story of the search for love and self-identity is one that we can all relate to. As historical fiction with a specific setting, “The novel provides a rare glimpse into life as it was for some African Americans living in the Florida in the early 1900s, post-slavery.”
With its three distinguished leaders over the half-century, the office has transformed into a thriving resource for librarians when First Amendment rights have been trampled. And we couldn’t have done it without you. Here are a few stats that highlight the work we’re proud to continue, and the obstacles our team is determined to tackle with your support.
The reasons people challenge books, in schools and in libraries, are numerous. Regardless, a surprising number of Americans, when faced with the right reason, are actually pro book banning. This is reflected in a recent YouGov.com poll, which asked what kinds of content in books should be banned, and in what settings.
In most book challenges, there is one book that is targeted, for very specific reasons. The reasons behind the challenge may not be unique, but, at the very least, they are reasons that are specific to the challenged book. Instead of one challenge for one book, Dixie County Superintendent Mike Thomas has issued a ban on all materials with, “profanity, cursing or inappropriate subject matter.”
Intellectual freedom advocates need to do our part to reject the sensationalization of censorship. It’s not enough to lament the restriction of a book on social media or grumble about schools’ decisions. We need to discuss the central issue: teaching students to talk about controversial issues in and through literature.
These two cases highlight the importance of having policies and procedures in place, and when the policy is not followed, reaching out to intellectual freedom experts for support.
For a period of almost sixty years, the CMAA’s Comics Code attempted and largely succeeded in regulating the content of American comic books.
Since its publication in 1960, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird has been challenged and banned in schools and libraries all over the country. What can you do to help the students of Biloxi Public Schools?
I just saw on a librarian Facebook page that a school librarian has just been dealing with another challenge to the Goosebumps series, yes in 2017! But thanks to positive support and a reasonable response to the challenge, Stine’s books are back on those shelves for the kids.