Jamaica Kincaid

Banned Author Highlight: Jamaica Kincaid

When I was researching more about Lucy and Kincaid’s other works, I was struck by the number of criticisms that labeled her work as “angry”. Considering her childhood trauma and that many of her works contain autobiographical elements, it is not surprising that her characters are angry, or experience passionate feelings. That is true of many coming of age stories or memoirs.

ALA Graphic: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. Banned Books Week September 26 - October 2, 2021

Jason Reynolds Named Inaugural Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week has never had an honorary chair before but unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. Jason Reynolds will be the first honorary chair of Banned Books Week and he is excited about it! This year marks the 39th celebration of Banned Books Week since its first celebratory year in 1982. The 2021 theme is Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us and it will take place from September 26th to October 2nd.

A photo of Dan Rather next to a photo of the cover of his book What Unites Us: Reflection of Patriotism on top of a red background with a white speech bubble

“Libraries are What Unite Us”: A Conversation with Dan Rather About His Book “What Unites Us”

Dan Rather, veteran journalist and author of the book What Unites Us: Reflections of Patriotism, sat down with Adult editor for Booklist Donna Seaman to discuss his book and the important role libraries play in sustaining our democracy. Their discussion also touched on the importance of funding libraries, the free and independent press, and science literacy.

IFRT Reads The Future of Academic Freedom

“So That Teachers May Freely Teach and Students May Freely Learn”: Safeguarding the Future of Academic Freedom with Henry Reichman

Government interference in classroom curricula. Financial pressures and conflicts of interests. The death of tenure. Trigger warnings, cancel culture, censorship, and the chilling effect. With all the pressures threatening open inquiry and free expression on campus, you might wonder: “Does academic freedom have a future?” Join the IFRT Reads community to explore this question with Oboler Award-winning author and academic freedom scholar, Henry Reichman, and his 2019 book, The Future of Academic Freedom.

Photo of Barbara Park and her dog, Maggie.

Happy Birthday Barbara Park!

We are used to seeing censorship attempts for heavy, controversial topics: drugs, LGBTQ+ themes, sexual content, religion, death, ect. But the Junie B. Jones series is aimed at young readers. She’s a kindergartener, worried about riding the bus on her first day of school and getting up to hilarious, albeit a bit questionable, antics. To what, exactly, are people objecting in these books?

Pen and publishing contract

From Zora Neale Hurston’s “What White Publishers Won’t Print” (1950) TO #PublishingPaid Me (2020)

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.

Freedom to Read Week

“My Head is Sort of Private”: The Twilight Saga as Privacy Parable

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!

Roald Dahl

Condemning without Cancelling: A Response to Roald Dahl Family’s Apology for His Anti-Semitic Comments

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.