professornana (professornana) wrote,

BBW begins tomorrow

Banned Books Week begins tomorrow. How will you mark this week? I know that I will be talking to another YA lit class tomorrow. Part of my what we will cover tomorrow is the difference between selection and censorship. Since these folks all want to be (or in some cases already are) school librarians, this is something we talk about in almost every class they take toward their MLS. I do not think we can say it often enough: there is a difference between selection and censorship. Censorship takes many insidious forms, too. I was reminded of that recently when I blogged about Lane Smith's new picture book, IT'S A BOOK! The two main characters are a gorilla and a jackass. They are identified as such on the title page and the final page contains the word jackass as well.

Most people are over-the-moon about this book and rightfully so. It is an hilarious story and a great example of metafiction for kids. However, I have heard that some folks are reading the bok aloud and changing the word jackass to donkey. Not only does that ruin the final page of the book, it is censorship. I have seen this type of censorship before. I have heard teachers read aloud and change "hell" to "heck" and "damn" to "darn", etc. I have had kids tell me that they have read a book where black magic marker has been used to eradicate the "bad" words or where a page is missing having been removed by someone who thought the content inappropriate.

This is censorship. Period. It is wrong. Period. If you cannot read all of the words aloud, please select another book. Do not cheat kids or change the author's words and intent.

As for how I will mark the rest of BBW, I will be visiting different bookstores in and around Houston and buying some of the books being challenged right now. I already have a bag in the back of my car. I plan to acquire a few more. Then, I plan to make sure I get those books into the hands of teachers who will SpeakLoudly.

Today I ordered 500 buttons with SpeakLoudly on them. They will also have the URL of the web site being created by David Gill (our LJ thunderchikin) and Paul Hankins (he who began the twitter Speakloudly movement). I will be handing these out at conferences including NCTE and ALAN in November. Who knows what else I might do? I know I will continue to read freely. I hope we will all give kids a chance to do the same.
Tags: censorship, speakloudly
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