Singapore authorities have withdrawn from libraries two children’s books featuring same-sex couples, sparking controversy amid a debate on gay rights in the conservative city-state. And Tango Makes Three features a pair of gay penguins while The White Swan Express mentions a lesbian couple. Petitions for the books to be put back have garnered thousands of signatures. Gay sex is illegal in Singapore, and a recent gay rally drew an unprecedented backlash from religious groups.” (via BBC)
“Google and Wikipedia appear to be the latest victims of Iran’s online censorship efforts, just two days after the Iranian government repeated — once again — that it’s planning to loosen its grip on the Internet. Iran has reportedly blocked access to another Google service, the hosting platform Google Sites, and censored at least two sensitive Wikipedia pages in Farsi in the last couple of days. It’s unclear at this point if these blocks are government mandated, but if they are, activists think they would expose the Iranian government’s double-sided stance on Internet freedom.” (via Mashable)
“Every year the Vancouver Public Library is asked by members of the public to remove some books from its shelves, books that have upset someone’s sensibilities, and in 2013 a children’s book by Dr. Seuss was among them. There aren’t a lot of formal requests for removal and they are almost always denied, but not before VPL takes a long, serious look at the book involved. Take the Dr. Seuss book If I Ran the Zoo, for instance. It seems laughable that a Seuss book, loved by parents and children alike, could offend anyone.” (via The Province)
“Classroom copies of a novel about a 9-year-old boy whose father died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were removed last week from an Ankeny school following questions from a parent about the book’s content. Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” contains profanity, sex and descriptions of violence, according to the American Library Association, which tracks challenged, restricted, removed and banned books. Assistant Superintendent Jill Urich said the novel was removed from ninth-grade classrooms at Northview Middle School because the title had not received school board approval for use in the district’s English curriculum.” (via The Des Moines Register)
“When Rainbow Rowell’s first YA novel Eleanor & Park came out this spring, people loved it. After John Green gave it a glowing (shimmering, really. Incandescent, even) review in the New York Times, even more people loved it. It was an Amazon Best Book of the Month, a New York Times bestseller, and it inspired a shocking amount of beautifully rendered fan art. I loved it, my mother loved it, my pregnant coworker loved it, my friend who “never reads YA ” loved it. You probably loved it, too. (Full disclosure: Rainbow Rowell is a friend of mine. She once mailed me a photograph of Alan Alda and also a postcard with a drawing of an oyster on it that said “The World Is Your Oyster” after I quit my day job, so I would even go so far as to call her a “good friend.”) A group of high school librarians in Minnesota loved Eleanor & Park so much that they chose it as their school district’s summer read, giving all their high school students the option to read it – and invited Rowell to come visit the Minneapolis-area schools and the local public library this fall.” But there are some who do not love it, not even a little bit, not even at all. (via The Toast)
“Deerfield and Highland Park librarians consider their buildings to be bastions of free thought, and have few regulations on children reading or viewing adult content. It’s up to the parents to decide what’s appropriate for their children, said Mary Pergander, library director of the newly-renovated Deerfield Public Library.
“Deerfield is a community that has a long tradition of protecting intellectual freedom,” Pergander said.” (via Chicago Tribune)
“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.