Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winters
This true story, told from the grandmother’s point of view, shows a terrible life for young Nasreen.
After compiling the list of the 2015 Top Ten Challenged Books, the staff at the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) noticed that once again, a high percentage of the titles fell into the category of “diverse content.” What do we mean by diversity?
Lesbian. Gay. Bi-sexual. Transsexual. Queer. If there is one topic of contention in the United States, it has been the topic of homosexuality. There are even opinions if the letter Q should be added or deleted from the acronym LGBT(Q). This topic, especially in young adult literature, has evolved with the times. LGBT is becoming more mainstream, and with this advancement more young adult books are being published that not only are thematically about LGBT content, but many novels have characters that are gay, even if the premise of the book isn’t about the topic.
As many of you know, diversity was the focus of our Banned Books Week 2015. But the Office for Intellectual Freedom is also a member of a larger coalition, embracing many other partners (see last paragraph below). They/we came out this week with an announcement about the focus of the Coalition’s 2016 campaign. Not surprisingly, the push for diverse materials and diverse viewpoints has not disappeared. The press release is below.
“Publishing is not alone when it comes to having a lack of diversity problem. All media, including film, television, and theater, are having similar conversations about diversity. It is plain to see that our society as a whole has a problem. We believe we are at a crucial time right now. We all have to decide if the country in which we live is better off if we conduct our lives separately or together. The diversity problem is not the responsibility of diverse people to solve. It is a problem for everyone to solve. Now that the Diversity Baseline Survey is completed, the real work toward changing the status quo begins. It is not going to be easy. Knowing where we stand and establishing a baseline was the first step. Knowing the baseline numbers gives us a way to measure progress going forward, but only our actions can change things for the better.” Lee & Low