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Free trade agreement

Oh, Susan Hill. The Brits haven’t given me this much material since Lynne Reid Banks complained of lesbian love in a David Almond novel. A bookstore choosing not to stock a book is not censoring it. A bookstore taking a political point of view is not censorship. A bookstore saying to a customer, “no, we don’t […]

Hbook Podcast 1.31 – Library Censorship, Intellectual Freedom, and VOYA

Podcast the 31st in which Siân and Roger talk about, well, the title: library censorship, intellectual freedom, and VOYA. Also Christian romances. Books we talk about Kody Keplinger, Run Selene Castrovilla, Melt Stephanie Kuehn, The Smaller Evil Simon Mason, Running Girl Ruth Alexander, Changing Bodies, Changing Lives Kate Breslin, For Such a Time Nathan Aldyne, […]

When the censor is you

While you all know what I think of the term “self-censorship” (which does not mean censorship by oneself so much as of oneself, and you are not your library), SLJ’s survey of censorship by school librarians is eye-opening. Siân and I will be talking about it on the podcast we’re recording today (and publishing next Monday) […]

Hbook Podcast 1.21 – There Is a Tribe of Kids

Podcast the 21st in which Roger and Siân talk about Lane Smith’s There Is a Tribe of Kids, Siân actually considers the idea of a library not carrying the Harry Potter books, and Roger expresses a strong opinion about vampirism. Books we talk about Lane Smith, There Is a Tribe of Kids and It’s a Book Antoinette Portis, […]

Freeing writers AND readers

I agree with Allie Jane Bruce that “kids say this stuff” is a piss-poor reason for racist language in books for children. It’s a piss-poor reason generally, as the point of fiction has never been to mimic reality, which rarely makes nearly as much sense as even the most hackneyed novel. Fiction is always selecting: as Miss Binney explained to Ramona, […]

Whips AND chains

I’d really like to ban the term “self-censorship” from discourse, given that we already have a spectrum of words–from “prudence” to “cowardice”–that say more precisely what we mean, and because it causes us to be confused about what censorship actually is. As Megan Schliesman at Reading While White posted last week, the discussion about A Birthday […]

Beyond the Pluto Problem

Perusing Debbie’s Reese’s  provocative (to me, anyway!) and useful site American Indians in Children’s Literature, I came across a comment she made referencing and linking to the Texas State Library’s guide to weeding, CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (link goes to a pdf). Last revised in 2012 by my most respected colleague and […]

THIS, my dears, is censorship.

We talk a lot in this field (and on this blog, I guess) about censorship. And most of the time we use the term loosely, describing those who challenge a book’s distribution by a library, for example, as “censors.” I’ve always found the term in this context alarmist–it’s not the challengers who are censors, the censor is […]

WTF, ALA?

The new Banned Books Week poster has too many design elements to keep straight, uses a dumb and hard to parse neologism as its main message, and dog-whistles anti-Islamic sentiment with an image of what looks like a woman in a niqab. You had ONE JOB….  

Cause to celebrate?

If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was […]