Rainbow Book Month

Pride Month and Censorship: A Resource Guide

In light of recent attacks on the rights of LGTBQIA+ individuals and an increasingly toxic political environment, it’s doubtful that these concerted efforts to censor the speech of others will fade away anytime soon. Furthermore, librarians and their professional commitment to creating learning environments free from censorship almost certainly guarantees that they will face further challenges. Thus, the intention behind this list, even if it’s not entirely successful in communicating the breadth of ALA resources, is to provide a starting point for further exploration of intellectual freedom and the ways in which we, as librarians, can better advocate not only ourselves, but our communities as well.

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.

Image of the book cover for Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books on a teal background with the words “Book Review” in orange to the right of the book cover image.

Book Review: Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books

Books Under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children’s Books by Pat R. Scales features 33 books for youth that have been challenged since 2015. The book is a great primer for those looking to learn more about challenges to children’s literature. The book also includes a lot of further reading materials and backmatter that is a great jumping off point for researchers to learn more about issues of censorship.

Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard

“Divisive” Books Help Children Experiencing Trauma: An interview with the authors of Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice

The authors of challenged book Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice discuss censorship, how racism affects children’s health, and how anti-racist literature benefits society.

Forrest Spaulding, Courtesy Des Moines Public Library

Forrest Spaulding: Drafter of the Original Library Bill of Rights

This month, 129 years after his birth and almost 82 years after the adoption of the Library Bill of Rights, it seems fitting to remember the work done by Forrest Spaulding in creating a bold and straightforward document that continues to inform the library profession in the United States and around the world.

Denzel Washington

Malcolm X, Military Academies, and Trump’s (Defunct) EO

Should servicemen and women be exposed to material some might deem anti-American? There are two answers to this question: the first, which addresses the specific case of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, and the second, which appeals to the universal right to free speech usually espoused by those on the political right, but seemingly abandoned in this case.

Social media legislation

State Legislatures Eye Regulating Social Media in Wake of ‘Big Tech Censorship’

Many of the bills use very similar language, referencing “unfair trade practices” and “censorship.” Several bills would require social media platforms to warn users of their specific electronic speech transgressions and give violators a grace period to clean up whatever part of their act that would see them banned. Some bills empower the banned to file consumer complaints with state attorneys general or, like Texas’ SB 2373, to file suit.

Image includes the book cover of Call Me Max and The Murray School District logo with the words “LGBTQIA+ book challenge to the right of the images.

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bath Water: Challenges to Call Me Max and Equity Book Bundles in Murray School District

A challenge to the book Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff, a picture book about a transgender child, led to the Murray School District in Murray Utah temporarily suspending their equity book bundle program. The equity book bundle program is a program to help provide teachers with more diverse titles, particularly racially diverse titles, to add to their curriculum. Call Me Max is not part of the equity book bundle program, which has led to many questioning why the school district made the decision to put the program on hold in light of the challenge.