professornana (professornana) wrote,
professornana
professornana

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waiting for the punch line

Mindi Rench pointed to this blog post to Facebook this morning: http://clutterfreeclassroom.blogspot.com/2016/10/controversial-childrens-books.html/. As I was reading it, I was waiting for an "April Fool!" or at the very least a punch ;in indicating this was an Onion-like parody. But no. It was sincere as far as I can tell. And of course the tell was that the blog post was changed when many of my friends and colleagues shared the post and decried what it was suggesting.

Let me see if I can summarize. The post was entitled 5 BOOKS TEACHERS MAY WANT TO REMOVE FROM THEIR CLASSROOM LIBRARIES. Which books you might ask? And why? This is where the going gets murky. It moves from suggesting books that parents might find offensive and books that are not good role models for kids to read. It states that, if teachers are unfamiliar with the content d books on their shelves, then they need to consider the potential problems with these 5 books. The author of the blog post goes on to recommend that teachers use Common Sense Media to guide their collections. To quote: "Teachers are not expected to read every book in their classroom library from cover to cover, but ultimately they are responsible for what they are providing the students with as reading material. My suggestion would be to go through your library and jot down the titles of any books you have not read. Divide the list into sections and ask parent volunteers to look the titles up on Common Sense Media and/or read reviews on Amazon to see if anything stands out as a potential concern."

Other than the fact that this approach seems unprofessional (why are parents looking up books to determine their "appropriateness" using CSM), it states that keeping books off the shelves or removing them from the shelves is an individual's decision. And it is not. Let's set aside the books being targeted for a moment, and instead talk about selection vs. censorship vs. gatekeeping. Not adding books to a library because there is a potential of a complaint is gatekeeping at best. Removing books because the main character uses non-standard English is highly questionable. And deleting books kids love because of content is wrong on so many levels.

So, here are the books that need to go:

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS
SUPERFUDGE
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
SHILOH
JUNIE B. JONES

I urge you to visit the blog. I urge you to speak up and speak out.
Tags: censorship, gatekeeping, selection
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