“The Chicago Public Schools ignited controversy this week by ordering that “Persepolis,” a critically acclaimed graphic novel about a girl growing up in Iran at the time of the Islamic revolution, be removed from some classrooms. CPS Chief Executive Barbara Byrd-Bennett said on Friday that the district was not banning the book, by Marjane Satrapi, but had decided that it was “not appropriate for general use” in the seventh grade curriculum.” (via Reuters)
“A Brazilian judge has ordered bookstores to ensure that the erotic trilogy ‘‘Fifty Shades of Grey’’ is out of the reach of minors. Judge Raphael Queiroz Campos issued the order Jan 14 after he saw children in one of city’s bookstores looking through erotic books, according to a statement issued by the Rio de Janeiro State Judiciary Department Thursday night.
Eleven copies of the ‘‘Grey’’ series were among 64 books taken from the shelves of two bookstores because their content was deemed improper for those under the age of 18.”
“The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Utah filed a lawsuit against the Davis School District after elementary schools in the district were instructed to remove a children’s book about a family with same-sex parents from library shelves. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a mother whose children attend one of the schools where the book was restricted. In Our Mothers’ House, by acclaimed children’s author Patricia Polacco, was initially placed in the Easy Reading section of Windridge Elementary School in Davis County. After a group of parents complained that the book “normalizes a lifestyle we don’t agree with,” the school district instructed librarians to place the book behind the library counter and to lend it only with written permission from a parent.”
“Think about Stephen King books with disturbing themes and the tale of the Overlook, a malevolent hotel, might come to mind, or Christine, a malevolent Plymouth. As a bestselling horror novelist, King made his bones and his fortune by frightening the wits out of readers. Yet it was his collection of non-horror novellas with themes more societal than scary that was briefly banned this month from a high school outside Sacramento.”
via LA Times.com
“A Fremont teacher’s request for a controversial story to be included in the list of acceptable texts for Advanced Placement English was rejected by Fremont Unified School District’s Board of Education in a 5-3 vote June 27. Teri Hu, a Washington High School AP English teacher, requested the use of “Bastard Out of Carolina” in 2009 and was rejected although books with similar subject matter such as “The Color Purple,” “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and “We Were the Mulvaneys” were approved, according to Acacia O’Connor, a National Coalition Against Censorship project coordinator.”
“The highly politicized crackdown on America’s fat people hits Los Angeles today, with a motion from L.A. City Councilman Mitchell Englander to ban all soda vending machines on city-owned property.
Englander, a physically fit frat-bro type who is clearly trying to one-up New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his proposed ban on extra-large sodas, warns in his motion that… sugary drinks can “affect young people both mentally and physically” — even cause them “to be violent against peers and in dating relationships.”
via The Informer
“Patricia Polacco, whose children’s book In Our Mothers’ House got bounced from a Davis County elementary school library shelf to “behind the counter,” wants to make one thing clear: The book did not belong in the kindergarten-third grade section.
Rather, she says, it should have been on the fourth-grade-and-up shelves, where curious kids might read it and spark a good discussion with their families at the dining room table.”
The Washington Post – “From papyrus to vellum to paper to e-books, two principles of publishing have not changed over the centuries: 1. Churches can’t resist the temptation to condemn books. 2. Nothing boosts book sales like condemnation by a church. Who, after all, would have read Sister Margaret Farley’s “Just Love” if the Vatican hadn’t censured it this week? The Catholic Church delivered the nun’s treatise on Christian sexual ethics from the wilderness of obscurity into the promised land of fame. For any book publicist, such denunciation is an answer to a prayer. On Amazon’s Web site, “Just Love” immediately ascended from No. 142,982 to No. 16.”
Baltimore Sun – “Mary Hastler knew she was about to create a fuss, knew that, unfair as she might find it, people were going to label her the last thing a librarian wants to be called — censor. You don’t refuse to carry the most talked-about series of books in the country without anyone noticing. But as she read E.L. James’ erotic novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” on her iPad, Hastler couldn’t reconcile its words with the Harford County Public Library’s policy not to buy pornography. Hastler, the county’s library director, says she has no problem with your run-of-the-mill bodice-ripper. But she felt she was reading a step-by-step guide to bondage, and a poorly written one at that.”
NY Times. – “It did not escape the notice of Tim Cole, the collections manager for the Greensboro Public Library in North Carolina, that “Fifty Shades of Grey” was “of mixed literary merit,” as he put it with a heavy helping of Southern politeness. He ordered 21 copies anyway.”