“After a careful deliberation by a review committee, Northville Public School’s officials have chosen not remove the book “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl – The Definitive Edition” from the middle school reading options. In a letter to the community, Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Services Robert Behnke indicated removing the book would amount to censorship.” (via hometownlife.com)
“Edward de Grazia, a lawyer and teacher who in the 1950s and ’60s broadened the scope of what Americans would be allowed to read by helping to defeat government bans on sexually explicit books, died on April 11 in Potomac, Md. He was 86.” (via NYTimes.com)
“Complaints by citizens about several works being taught in AP English classes in Seven Lakes High School in Katy, TX caused those books to be removed or replaced. Fight Club by Chuck Palaniuk, A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley and Ernest Hemingway’s short story “Hills Like White Elephants” were among the objectionable titles. A Thousand Acres was a summer reading selection which originally incited objections. Fight Club was set to be read by students imminently but was replaced by V for Vendetta.”
“Restricted access is still censorship, the Kids’ Right to Read Project declared in its call for the return of Patricia Polacco’s In Our Mothers’ House to school library stacks in Davis County, UT. The Kids’ Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent (click for .pdf) to the Superintendent of schools, the Kids’ Right to Read Project criticized the County’s recent moves to restrict access to the book, allowing it to be checked out of the school library only with a signed permission slip.
1) NCAC, Free Speech Groups Criticize M.D. Library’s “Porn” Ban – “The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) united with other freedom of expression organizations again today on behalf of E.L. James’ best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage), this time in Harford County, Maryland. In a joint letter (below) issued to the county library’s board, NCAC has arrayed co-signers representing publishers, authors, booksellers and journalists from across the nation to urge Harford County to reconsider the thinking behind its generic ban on “porn,” a subjectively and selectively defined category.”
2) NCAC Unites Orgs in Support of “The Family Book” in Erie, I.L. – “Following the ban of Todd Parr’s The Family Book (Little, Brown and Company) in Erie, Illinois, seven organizations have joined with the Kids’ Right to Read Project to oppose the decision. The Kids Right to Read Project is a joint effort of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), In a letter sent to the Erie School Board, NCAC and other free expression defenders criticized the district’s decision to ban the book and other materials endorsed by the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). In doing so, the letter says, it acquiesced to religiously-motivated complaints by some parents at the expense of the rest of the community.
“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.”
Courthouse News – “Texas corrections facilities did not violate the First Amendment by banning certain books that graphically describe rape, child abuse and race relations in the prison system, the 5th Circuit ruled. Prison Legal News, a nonprofit advocate of inmate rights, filed suit over five books banned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), under a book-review policy that the parties agree is constitutional. TDCJ has approved about 80,000 of more than 92,000 books sent to its inmates, according to database records.”
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.”
NCAC – “In a joint letter sent today (link to PDF), the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) partnered with the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida (ACLUFL) to urge Brevard County Commissioners to reinstate the best-selling erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey to the Brevard public library system.
The ACLUFL’s support adds a new salvo as national attention escalates, from coverage via the New York Times and the NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams.”