Hurston wrote “What White Publishers Won’t Print” in 1950. Seventy years later, #PublishingPaidMe exposed what we now know as the disparity of publishers’ pay advances to Black writers compared to White writers. There is a historical notion that Black books won’t appeal to a broad audience that has long been discredited through the success of many Black books. Hurston’s use of African-American Vernacular (AAV), her portrayal of black women, and Black cultural traditions were used to center Black lives in her stories. Because the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 are primarily of diverse people and topics, it is imperative to continue supporting and making opportunities equitable for Black writers.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recently released the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020. Here are some reactions and responses from authors, librarians, and readers.
Celebrate Freedom to Read Week February 21st to the 27th by learning more about book challenges, catching up on freedom of expression news, or curling up with your favorite banned book! This post recognizes banned author Stephenie Meyer. While critics fault Twilight for negative depictions and poor writing, I prefer to think I enjoy the series for its nuanced exploration of privacy. Escape to the mossy forests of Forks and a time before high-speed internet, smartphones, and social media to explore the privacy themes in Twilight!
In early December 2020, news outlets reported on a statement made by the Roald Dahl Story Company (RDSC). At some point, Roald Dahl’s family quietly issued an apology on the official Roald Dahl website, denouncing the famous children’s author’s anti-Semitic views and statements. They made it clear they do not condone Dahl’s views, and they lament the “lasting and understanding hurt” these comments may have caused the Jewish community. The official statement also implies that his prejudicial comments were not in keeping with the beloved man they knew, even though Dahl’s comments were made very publicly and with no remorse, even towards the end of his life.
Discouraging fanfiction isn’t the purpose of this post. There are many benefits to it. Writing fanfiction is an excellent writing exercise and an argument can be made that it creates more interest in the derivative work. However, understanding the role copyright plays is still important to be thoughtful and intentional with your (repurposed) art.
I felt fairly prepared to handle a materials challenge, but as I talk with other librarians, I see this is an area of great concern.
Last month, we celebrated Mercer Mayer’s birthday! Well-known for the Little Critter and Little Monster series, we also recognize his books which used striking and frightening illustrations to engage young readers and teach them about courage.
David Sedaris was born on this day in 1956. He is an award winning author and comedian, and he is a regular, longtime contributor to The New Yorker and the National Public Radio (NPR) show This American Life. His essays are known for their satirical and self-deprecating humor, and read like diary entries (which many of them are), a window into Sedaris’ clever mind.
Author, poet, and artist Sandra Cisneros celebrates her birthday today.
Today is Jason Reynolds’ birthday. Reynolds, named earlier this year as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, has had his books challenged for how they portray contemporary issues like police brutality and racism. This year, read a book by Reynolds — tell us what you think.