Make Partnerships, Not Permission Slips: Seven Intellectual Freedom Tips for Classroom Reading

Recent book challenges in the news have involved permission slips sent home by classroom teachers when students would be reading a potentially controversial book, and I’d like to take some time to review the bigger picture surrounding classroom text selection, parent communication, and the sticky question of “permission.”

The Post poster

‘The Post,’ the Pentagon Papers, and the Era of Fake News

The First Amendment has been front and center in the press under President Donald Trump’s administration. That’s what makes Steven Spielberg’s new movie so incredibly timely. The director’s latest drama, The Post, chronicles The Washington Post’s 1971 effort to publish the legendary Pentagon Papers.

Photo of exhibit called Our Family Tree at Utah Museum of Natural History

Freedom to Use Your Mind

To fully understand intellectual freedom, it seems crucial to consider what kinds of barriers to these activities might exist in our local communities and broader American society. The ones I initially think of include self-imposed determinations — I can’t question that! — to outside restrictions — library users in this district can’t access this book! — but perhaps there are others.

New York Times Sensitivity article

Sensitivity Reading, Censorship, and the State of Diversity in Children’s Publishing

Alexandra Alter muses on whether or not the common practice of sensitivity editing sanitizes the work of authors writing outside their experience to the detriment of freedom of expression. Alter interviews authors and other book professionals about their experiences with sensitivity reading and internet backlash against books that readers feel have not gone through rigorous vetting before being published.