… which are in October and February, respectively. (ETA: Banned Books Week starts Sept 25, oops…. But Freedom to Read Week is still in February.) This week, I have been talking to people upset about sexual information on our library’s shelves, especially considering its proximity to two high schools.
Somebody’s always trying to ban something. But it’s not always quite as sickening as calling the rape scenes in Speak pornographic. Laurie Halse Anderson speaks eloquently on the matter. More here from the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom blog (You know what also made me feel marginally better? A line by line grammar critique of the letter from the individual who wishes to ban the book. Contains strong language, as the situation warrants.)
Also on the slate of books-some-people-don’t-think-teens-should-read, Sherman Alexie’s Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I KNOW. GAH. An editorial also has links to past articles, to give you a pretty good picture of the whole sordid affair. For some perspective on the awesomeness of the book and Sherman Alexie, From Wellpinit to Reardan: Sherman Alexie’s Journey to the National Book Award from the ALAN Review.
Over at Booklist, Pat Scales (also of SLJ’s Scales on Censorship column) takes on the Common Sense Media organization Weighing In: Three Bombs, Two Lips, and a Martini Glass
If you had asked me a year ago what bombs, lips, and martini glasses have in common, I would have answered, “A fraternity party.” Now I have a different answer. It’s called Common Sense Media. This not-for-profit Web-based organization is in the business of using a “rating” system to review all types of media that target children, but their “ratings” of books are especially disingenuous. They claim that they want to keep parents informed. Informed about what? What their children should read or what they shouldn’t read?
And for a total change of pace, you can find improv everywhere, including reenacting Star Wars scenes on a New York subway car.