Librarians express concern that 2021 Caldecott winner We Are Water Protectors is too political for children.
Maurice Sendak’s 1970 book In the Night Kitchen is a dreamy book about a naked little boy named Mickey working to keep from getting baked in a cake. But from the moment the book was published and continuing into the 21st century, Mickey’s nudity has unsettled reviewers, parents and even some librarians.
Teens are dealing with dark, heavy matters. Film, theater, literature, and other art forms are perhaps the most cathartic and helpful resource they can lean on.
“Southern Gothic” short-story and fiction writer Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) is celebrated to this day for her wry portrayals of strange, often disturbing signs of life below the Mason-Dixon Line. But as a devout Catholic, she also practiced self-censorship in the form of avoiding or otherwise officially requesting permission to read works included on the Catholic Index of Forbidden Books. How did she reconcile the two?
For the first time this century, a wide array of artworks, books, music and films fell into the public domain. Works in the public domain, which now includes those created in 1923, are no longer under copyright protection, so anyone who enjoys creating something can make use of works in the public domain for inspiration. While the late 20th century saw a copyright term that only got longer, the 21st century sees the public domain finally grow.
By: guest contributor Carole Soden; “I fully understand why some libraries feel more comfortable not using Dr. Seuss books but I feel there is also another approach.”
By: guest contributor Emily M. Schneider, Ph.D. – I am not writing to defend Gantos and McKean’s novel. I empathize with those critics who have expressed fears that it will only stoke the fires of xenophobia and normalize suspicion of Muslims, and that children may find in the book an excuse to bully their peers who seem to conform to the exaggerated images in the book. But, like Fitzgerald, I can also hold opposing ideas, specifically, fears of censorship, and the idea that allowing a book to be published does not imply endorsement of its message.
The common misconception that any library espouses the content of its collection and programming can lead to feelings of patron alienation. An imagining of the library as an equitable world stage can help to mitigate resulting acrimony directed at this institution.
Stand, is an original, hour-long play about political and intellectual freedom written by Matthew Ivan Bennett. It’s a story of compelled speech, thought, action, and surveillance “by the minute”–a perfect work of art for intellectual freedom proponents to engage with and explore.
Pro tip number one: Pick a word any word – except maybe the hash tag #MeToo. The Me Too Movement, founded by a Black American woman named Tarana Burke to encourage empathy and empowerment for sexual assault survivors, became ubiquitous online and off-line in 2017. In China, women have been using the coded phrase “rice bunny” (米兔), pronounced as “mi tu” to get around would-be censors who would shut down conversations online about sexual harassment.