Banned Books 101

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Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us in this important conversation. Welcome to Banned Books 101. I hope you brought some questions. My name is Ellie Diaz and I’m a Program Officer at the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. We’re currently in the middle of Banned Books Week, a time to celebrate the freedom to read, but also draw attention to the harms of censorship. This year’s Banned Books Week theme is censorship leaves us in the dark, keep the light on. During this live stream staff at the office for intellectual freedom will discuss how to spotlight censorship and how to keep the light of learning alive during Banned Books Week and every day of the year. During the presentation. Our speakers will talk about the different types of censorship frequently challenged books and some of the trends, we’re seeing Why we recognize and celebrate banned books week And how to stand up for the freedom to read Toward the end of the live stream the speakers will answer your questions about censorship. And if you have any questions now or throughout the presentation, please post them in the Q&A or in the chat box. I also wanted to mention that we’re streaming this live on the banned books week Facebook page. So for all of our friends on Facebook, please post your questions in the comments of the Facebook post. Before we begin, here’s a little more information about the office for intellectual freedom or as we call it. OIF Founded in 1967 the office provides confidential support when there’s a censorship issue in libraries schools or universities. Anyone can contact us about censorship happening in their community. We also use a database to track these incidents and this info allows us to identify censorship trends and also inform the public about what’s happening. We publish reports and also infographics and the most censored titles, such as the Top 11 Most Challenged Books list. We also offer many resources, both online and in person, including toolkits, workshops, and programs. So let’s talk a little bit more about our speakers for this afternoon, Deborah Caldwell-Stone is the interim director of OIF and the Freedom to Read Foundation. She is a recovering attorney and litigator who works closely with educators and the library community on a wide range of intellectual freedom and privacy issues. Kristin Pekoll is the Assistant Director of OIF. She’s the first contact of support for librarians and educators who are experiencing censorship. Kristin started her career as a youth librarian at West Bend, Wisconsin, where she experienced a book challenge to over 80 LGBTQ+ books. She’s also the author of the book Beyond Banned Books: Defending Intellectual Freedom Throughout Your Library. So let’s jump right in with Kristin talking about which books are banned and challenge and what those words mean. Thank you, Ellie. So the fact is that books are still banned today. And what does that really mean and what books are we talking about? Many of you be may be aware that Harry Potter and the whole series of Harry Potter by JK Rowling is somewhat controversial. But you may not know that it is actually banned from schools, even this year in Tennessee, a Catholic school in Nashville bannedd the entire series from their school library. We have over 483 books that were challenged in 2018. And these are just the top 11 right here, you’ll notice that many of them are Books for youth teens and kids. Everything from the Hate U Give to 13 Reasons Why to Skippyjon Jones. We see a majority of the challenges that come in, have to do with diverse viewpoints and diverse characters. We’re seeing books challenged that are for kids and for adults. And we’re even seeing challenges to non book materials. There are a lot of ways that you can censor books and materials. When we talk about what a challenges and what a ban is let me use a little bit of time to describe what those words really mean and what we’re talking about. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials or services based on content. If someone comes up to the library and says, “I don’t like this book, I think it should be removed. I don’t think anybody should be reading this book, I find it offensive.” That’s a challenge. When the book is actually removed from the library or access to it is restricted that’s considered a ban. There are multiple ways that this can be seen as happening, you can remove the materials from the library. We see hiding resources. Or stealing resources. Requiring parental permission slip to access content. Vandalizing pages. This could look like taking a Sharpie and crossing out curse words in a book. Or putting Post-it notes over content or pictures that they don’t think is appropriate. This could even be taking entire pages out of a book or cutting images out that they don’t like. We have even seen books being burned. There was an incident in Iowa, where a patron checked out for LGBTQ picture books and burn them on Facebook Live. Censorship is still happening today. Thanks so much, Kristin, for sharing that information about banned and challenged books. Next, Deborah will talk about some history of students standing up for the freedom to read. Muted Yeah, I just unmuted myself and I apologize but and thank you both. But yes, students have stood up for the freedom to read throughout history. They’ve actually gone to court to vindicate their freedom to read in their First Amendment rights. So, For example, Mary Beth and John Tinker actually went to court to challenge their schools rules about silent protest, and in that seminal case they established that yes students have First Amendment rights, and that they can exercise those rights on the school campus. Then there were Steven Pico. He filed a lawsuit to challenge the decision to remove dozens of books from the shelves of his high school library in Island Trees, New York. Books like Catcher in the Rye and Slaughterhouse Five. He persevered and his challenge all the way up to the Supreme Court, which held that if a school board removed books from a school’s library because they disapproved of the ideas or opinions in the book, it would violate the students First Amendment right to read those books. Then there was Stevie case who challenged the decision of her school board to remove the novel Annie on My Mind from her school’s library. They’d remove the book in violation of the law school policy on reconsideration and challenges because they disapproved of the same-sex relationship that was depicted in the book. Her court challenge was successful and returning the book to the library shelf so all the students in the district could read it. And then there were the students of West Baned, Wisconsin who successfully protested a challenge that sought to remove at LGBTQ books from the library’s young adult collection. And yes, that’s the same challenge that Kristen was involved in. Their protests supported the library boards decision to retain all the challenge books in the library collection. And finally, the students at Lane Tech High School in Chicago, Illinois responded to the removal of Marjane Satrapi Persepolis, a wonderful graphic novel. With a spontaneous protest that drew media attention to the attempt to ban the book from the classrooms and libraries of Chicago public schools. The debate in the media forced the school administration to reconsider their decision and eventually the graphic novel was returned to the school systems libraries and its high school classrooms. So yes, indeed, students can be effective in fighting censorship and challenging book removals whenever they occur. Now the observance of Banned Books Weekk is this week, September 22 through September 28 But did you know that it started all the way back in 1982, the year the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the First Amendment rights of Steven Pico and his fellow students at Island trees, New York. That year, librarians, booksellers, publishers, authors, and teachers organized the display of banned books that were being challenged and removed from libraries and schools all across the country. And folks, frankly, were shocked by the thought idea that books are still being censored in the United States in the 20th century, and as a result. that those same librarians and booksellers and publishers and teachers all decided to continue the observance of Banned Books Week on a weekly basis and established the last week in September is the time to remember that books are censored and challenged across the country still today and that we need to celebrate and preserve our freedom to read. Ellie Thanks Deborah for talking about some of the history behind banned books week I’m going to kind of talk about what Banned Books Week is like today. So from 1982 onwards, the book community has come together continually come together to celebrate Banned Books Week. Bookstores, libraries, organizations, and schools celebrate and recognize censorship by creating these amazing displays and hosting programs. So these are just a few pictures of what those organizations have put together. In the lower left hand corner. I believe that’s a picture of Harry Potter cake. Like Kristen mentioned the Harry Potter series is still being banned and challenged today. Also in the lower right hand corner. The DC Public Library puts together a citywide scavenger hunt of banned and challenged books, and I just think that is so cool to get the entire community together searching for these banned and challenge books and why they were challenged. These are just some of the displays that libraries schools and bookstores put together. But there are so many other ones that can be found online. So you can use the hashtag hashtag #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Instagram and find some more. Here at the Office for Intellectual Freedom, of course, we’re also celebrating Banned Books Week and the freedom to read One of those ways is the Stand for the Banned Read-Out, which invites readers students and even celebrities to record themselves reading from banned and challenge books or talking about censorship. So you can record yourself and then submit the video to where will upload it to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel so everyone can see it. I think the more we talk about censorship, the more we can shed a light on how harmful it is. This year, we are also hosting that the Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign, and we’re inviting readers to reach out to their favorite banned and challenged author, Letting them know that you have their back or thanking them for their powerful words. Some authors have even used these letters when there’s a public challenge to the book, showing how powerful it is and how it can change lives. Letters, printable postcards, mailing addresses, and author Twitter handles can also be found at Another way to celebrate this Banned Books Week is, of course, reading a banned book. We have tons of lists on our website. And, of course, a few titles were also talked about today during the presentation. But I would encourage you to maybe pick up something that you haven’t read before, something that challenges your perspective, something that you can explore more. So those are just a couple of ways to celebrate this Banned Books Week. And thank you to Kristin and Deborah for providing your expertise. Will start with a few questions that we already have. But of course, please feel free to continue posting questions in the chat box, the Q&A Box, or if you’re joining us on Facebook, post to the Facebook post. So the first question we have is from a junior high school. Why are books with LGBTQ and profanity continually banned? Deborah, would you mind talking about why we see this kind of rise and challenges to diverse content, especially to LGBTQ books and programs? We see this kind of challenge to books because they’re just a number of adults who believe that young people don’t have the maturity, Either the intellectual maturity, or the emotional maturity to handle these topics or they believe that only parents should be able to talk to children communicate to their children about these topics. As a result, they bring these challenges they challenge the, the presence of the books, both in public libraries and in school libraries and in the classroom. Now there’s actually a better solution that that many school boards adopt in response to this kind of challenge and that’s to allow a parent to up their particular student into an alternative assignment, so that the books that are assigned to that particular su student meet the values and beliefs of that family but don’t impose those values and beliefs on the entire student body or the entire community. It’s important to remember that when we defend the freedom to read, we’re defending everybody’s freedom to read and really everybody’s freedom to access the information they need in the library. And that public libraries serve everyone they serve me to serve the needs of everyone in the community, including those who might be more minority voices or who are underrepresented in the community. So we strongly support libraries that provide these diverse resources and help them defend the presence of the books on the shelf. And recommend the adoption of policies that do accommodate the information needs of families that have different values or beliefs, while still preserving the right to read for everyone else in the community. Thanks Deborah. This is a question that’s been posted quite a few times but Kristin, could you talk a little bit about, we talked about why books are challenged common reason as LGBTQ themes. Could you talk about some of the other trends, you’re seeing and why people ban or challenge books, or maybe a reason that really surprised you. That, you know, we look at some of the reason that are coming up. We see violence, we see profanity, Underage drinking or anything that even would support or people might think promotes drinking or smoking. There was a challenge to the book Curious George. And in this particular copy of Curious George, Curious George takes a job he visited the hospital and he knocks over a bottle of ether. And he in the illustrations, you see. Curious George has the thrill ease and the stars above his head and he passes out and parents have complained that Curious George is doing drugs that he is a stoner that the book is encouraging drug use. So we see that kind of reading a lot for for books being challenged. Sometimes nudity is a big one, or sexually explicit content is another reason we might see reasons for being challenged. One that has really surprised me is the Hate U Give and All American Boys. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds, those have been challenged for being anti cop or for discussing issues about police brutality. Injustices So that was a that was a new one in the office. We had to actually come up with a different tag to discuss anti cop or law enforcement type reasons for challenges. Thanks, Kristin. A student from a high school also asked Um, How can people get so offended by certain words or pictures. Deborah, I’m wondering if you could talk about kind of the challenges to graphic novels or comics and why we see challenges to also books that are based in in images as well. We see these kinds of challenges because frankly images are very compelling. You know that there’s that old saw a picture is worth 1000 words. Well, a picture communicates with immediate impact and is often doesn’t hide the truth. When I talked about the challenge to Persepolis in the Chicago Public Schools. The reason that the administration tried to remove that book is that it had a panel. That illustrated the torture of prisoners and revolutionary around and the image showed prison guards urinating on prisoners to humiliate them. And they were and it was not a very detailed picture. And it wasn’t anything, frankly, very shocking. In that sense, when you knew about the subject matter. But this, the idea that a student would contemplate the fact that guards would torture prisoners by that means cause them to try to challenge and remove the book. And and so as a result, when you have books that have images in them. They often draw almost immediate challenges and that can range from graphic novels like Persepolis or Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, which shows that her coming of age and her first relationships with other lesbians to books like our art books coffee table books that have pictures from artists like Robert Mapplethorpe they often are challenged as well. It’s the, you know, usually it’s, there’s a good decision that’s made to retain the books, despite the challenge. But from time to time, these books have been removed from libraries, because the administration or the decision-makers handling the challenge just felt that the images were too much for young people to handle or for even the community to handle as a whole. Thanks Deborah. This question comes from the chat box and Kristin, you deal with challenges you deal with the challenge about one challenge a day. So I’m wondering if you could talk a little bit about the process of a challenge. And what happens to books that actually get banned. That’s a great question. And a lot of times we don’t always know what happened at the end. So usually, and every situation is different, but usually a person, a parent, a patron of a library, a principal, someone will be upset or want a book removed. They don’t feel it’s appropriate, or it’s offensive. So they might go to the library in and say, I want this book removed. And now, in many cases, especially in public libraries, there is a policy or form that they would need to fill out that explains what you don’t like about the book and what you think should be done with the book. And so then the library will discuss it, usually it’s a committee or maybe it’s a board meeting. And they will decide whether or not the book will stay in the library or whether or not the book will be banned. If they do decide to ban the book to remove it. Most of the times it’s either given away or packaged up. In Arizona, there was a situation was actually the state-wide issue, where the governor determined that the students could no longer study American sorry Mexican American Studies and Ethnic Studies group. And so they had a whole bunch of books that were then banned from the school’s curriculum and they box them up and they put on the outside of the box. The word “banned” really, really big and bold and the books just got stored. Sometimes they give them to the public library. If it’s a school library. It’s it happens. Different ways for different schools. And this is a follow-up question coming from Facebook about that. Is there any way a book can be un-banned. It really depends on the library’s policies and procedures. When I talk with different librarians that will say, you know, can, can I reorder this book. And I think as long as it falls falls within the selection policy and you’ve got the the okay from administrators and supervisors. The book can be reordered and retort. I think it depends each case. Deborah, you might have some more experience with that one as well. Yeah, well, actually one of the best ways to get a book oun-banned that has been banned or restricted is finding a good lawyer are going to the ACLU and suing for the return of the book. That’s what Steven Pico did. That’s what’s Stevana Case did. There’s another case that Dakota Counts was only seven years old when she asked her parents to challenge the decision to put Harry Potter on a locked shelf and require written parental permission to read it in the school library. The school board had made the decision to restrict the book and require parental permission, because one parent complained that Harry Potter taught students about witchcraft in the occult and taught students to disrespect authority. And that case they went to court they sued the school board and sought a court order reversing the decision, the school board. And fortunately, the judge in that case decided in favor of the students First Amendment rights. They said, even if the book was still in the library requiring written parental permission to access a book that was already in the school library violated students’ First Amendment rights. And they ordered the school board to put the book back on the open shelf so that students could freely browse and read it whenever they wanted to. So that’s one example of how a student successfully used a court action to unban or unrestricted book in a school library. Deborah, could you also talk about. We have a question here have library schools considered putting a suggested age recommendation on juvenile books. Well, publishers actually do put suggested age ranges on the copyright page of the book. They’ll suggest that the book is suitable for a particular developmental stage or a certain kind certain age of reader. However, the problem for the public library and even school libraries is that that’s really not within the realm of the library’s decision-making, not a decision the library can make. Everybody is different. Everybody learns to read at a different pace and is ready for different books at different times. So the library refrains from making that decision and they don’t put labels on the books. So although they may classify a book. As a juvenile book and put it in the juvenile collection. It won’t have a sticker saying this is for great you know age five, or you can only read this if you’ve reached the age of 12. That’s seen as unduly restrictive and possibly a restraint on the students’ First Amendment right to access that book. There were a number of situations that we addressed a few years ago. In regards to Lexile or accelerated reading programs where there was an attempt to prevent students from reading books that weren’t part on the reading level. For that program and it really resulted in really sad results. For example, a 12 year old who wanted to read the Little House books for the first time was told she couldn’t because her reading level was far beyond the classification of the Little House books. And that really is an unreasonable restriction. That’s not really based on any good reason, any good foundation for restricting books for young people. And we helped the library and address that situation. But that’s an example of how age restrictions can actually harm the right to read and so it’s best practice in libraries, not to label books with age labels or content labels so that the reader retains the ability to make their own choice and their own decisions about what books to read. Thank you. Let’s kind of switch perspectives to the author’s perspective of book banning and censorship. This question comes from a junior high student: Do authors know when their books are published that they will be banned in libraries? How do they prepare for backlash? Kristen. Could you talk a little bit about that. Yes, definitely. I don’t think author has are ever really aware when they’re writing the book that it will get challenged or it might get challenged. Many authors that I’ve spoken with seem genuine genuinely surprised. When they hear about it and it’s usually you know someone from the community or the public library, the school reaches out to the author and tells them. Occasionally, they’ll reach out to the publisher and the publisher reaches out to the author, but it’s it’s not very common for authors to be kind of looped in when a challenge is happening to their book and I think they’re usually pretty surprised when it is happening. Deborah talking about authors. Can you remember any examples of authors modifying their material and republish republishing it in lieu of the censorship that happened. This comes from a university student. I do know that there have been occasions when new additions of books have been modified to change the language. In fact, that did happen with the Little House books. The earliest additions described Native Americans in ways that were disparaging or were perceived as being disparaging and later on with the agreement of Laura Ingalls Wilder they rewrote those passages, so that they were not not as disparaging or not intended to be disparaging to indigenous people. So, and then it’s always possible to put out different editions for different age ranges. You may be familiar with the practice of putting out a young people’s edition of famous novel, so that it’s written at a reading level or that’s more appropriate for the developmental and educational achievements of younger readers. And that’s always a possibility as well. But more often than not, the authors I’m familiar with stand by their creative works, their right to free expression. Their publishers stand by their right to publish their work in you know, retain creative control of their work, but it is possible for authors to do that in response to challenges. Sometimes you don’t even have to be the author. A few years ago, a gentleman – Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn has entered into the public domain. And so he took Huckleberry Finn and he rewrote it to remove all the racial epithets in it, to sanitize it because he felt that junior high students couldn’t handle the fact that people used racial epithets in the 19th century, and that Mark Twain accurately portrayed this in the novel. So you can still get that edition of Huckleberry Finn, if you’d like to get that for your classroom. If you think that your students can’t handle racial epithets. We think that this is a type of expurgation, another kind of censorship that suppresses the author’s voice. And we actually have a policy and an interpretation library Bill of Rights that argues against this type of expurgation, and rather promotes the idea that such books provide teachable moments that can be handled in the classroom. Deborah, do you remember the name of the book about a guy who goes to Mars? He is the author was just at a la called The Martian. Andy Wyler I think the author’s name is Yeah, they came out with a high school version of his book that had the language changed so that he wasn’t swearing. He was just doing other stuff. And it was a lot of science classes actually read the book because they talked about how he survives on Mars, and I. Are you sure it’s just The Martian because I thought that was a different book, but I could be wrong. I don’t remember, but it was in it was Andy Weir and it was the movie it was made into the movie. And so it is Andy. Where’s books. The Martian. And it’s called The Martian, because of course he was stranded on Mars for months on end and had to survive on his wits with the few things he had available. Okay, so yeah. That book actually has a high school version as well. Our next question is kind of about having conversations about the importance of having these books available on community communal shelves. If you have certain patrons who, you know, would be uncomfortable with the book. How do you encourage your patrons as a whole to understand that having different sometimes uncomfortable book topics are welcome and public places? Well, this is Deborah. And Kristin please chime into but it’s my thoughts that having a conversation about the fact that a public library is a place for the entire community to come together. And have access to information and that it’s the role of the public library to service everyone in the community. And that means not just servicing the majority of the people or the people with the loudest voices but those even, you know, but making actually a special point to serve minority voices, you know, to reflect minority voices and serve those who are underrepresented in the community. It’s actually a vital part of the role of public libraries. And that when that the fact that the library is serving the information needs of, for example, LGBTQ people doesn’t mean that the library isn’t prepared to serve the information needs of somebody who has a religious viewpoint, or a differing opinion about civil rights for LGBT people. They’ll help them identify resources, just like they’ll help anyone else identify those resources. But that the library actually has an obligation to serve every person in the community. Every person pay supports the library and deserves to have find resources in the library that reflect their lives and experience and meet their information needs. You know, you could argue that the public library is one of the few truly democratic institutions in our society. And it’s a marvel that we have that resource available to us and in in our country today. I would also say that libraries by celebrating Banned Books Week are laying a foundation for their communities, to be aware of their values and their mission that they’re including everybody in their collection and and their services and so they can have conversations like that by doing a program or a forum that you know talks about why they have all these books in the library. So I think this week, Banned Books Week, is a great opportunity to do that. Absolutely. They were a couple questions, both on Facebook and in the chat, about selection and weeding and how that’s different from censorship. There’s also a question the chat: Do you believe that there’s ever a time when someone challenges a book Or a library would agree and have the book removed? Kristin, I’m wondering if you could kind of talk about those nuances between selection, collection development, weeding, and then censorship. So there is definitely nuance, you use the best word possible there to talk about those decisions when we discussed selection versus censorship, we are really looking at providing access versus removing access and it’s important that a librarian would Definitely reflect on his or her motives when making decisions about selection and weeding and censorship. If the motive behind it is to avoid controversy or deny access or if they’re offended by materials that you know upset their own values and beliefs. Then we’re skirting on to censorship and I was seen people library and support professionals make decisions that they call weeding which is in fact censorship. So there are actual principles behind waiting that talk about the, the amount of use, it has. What is the condition of the material. and that that that then they use you know that those principles are are there and excuse that they might use to two cents or something. So for instance, a lot of times we see the Skippyjon Jones series — And this is a series of books that many people have said is racist or has Mexican stereotypes — And so they used those reasons as to why they can remove the entire series from their collection without looking at the quality of the books, looking at the books in their entirety. Or how often they get used or whether or not there are populations. There are people within their community that like the books and want to to read them. So it can it can be very nuanced. I think the the key factor is looking at the motivation behind the decision. Thanks, Kristin, for explaining those differences. Deborah, this question is about banned book history. Is there a record of the first banned book in the U? Well, that’s hard to answer because in the 19th century, there was a very active effort by amazingly the post office to prevent to the entry of books to the United States that was deemed by the leader of this board to violate decency standards in the United States. Anthony Comstock was the gentleman’s name and He developed a set of rules that were very prudish and restrictive of any kind of sexual repression. But books in history that have actually been banned by the post office that I can identify is James Joyce Ulysses, which actually ended up being one of the seminal cases in the 60s that ended the practice of the federal government borrowing books from entering the country Lady Chatterley’s Lover was another one. So there when a novel literature deals with What some deemed to be risque sexuality, it’s often been the target of the cenors by the censors in the post office in the early part of the century. But also books dealing with anarchist ideas socialist ideas were banned in the early part of the century, as well, for example, people during World War One were convicted and sent to jail for distributing pamphlets about socialism and anti war efforts. So there you know there’s You identify the one seminal first book that was banned in the United States is exceedingly difficult would require a lot of research, but we know that book banning has been going on throughout the lifetime of our country. Kristin, could you talk about where who’s challenging these materials and if it’s more individuals or if we receive challenges more from organized groups? It’s a, it’s a pretty even combination of both groups and individuals. And also, well maybe it’s more individuals, but we see, I think the groups that ban or challenge materials. Are often more public, we see that there. They usually promote what they are trying to challenge or ban. And as far as who’s banning and challenging books, there’s a wide variety from parents to politicians elected officials government officials. Library boards librarians principals, superintendents teachers. Even students sometimes will complain about a book and think it’s inappropriate and want to remove it. Um, let’s switch gears to talk about a recent challenge that was discussed a little bit. Deborah, I’m wondering if you could offer more information about Harry Potter and how it was banned when it was first published but still continues to be banned in challenge today, and the reasons why it’s being challenged. Harry Potter was challenged almost immediately upon its publication by parents who were deeply concerned about its depiction of witchcraft and sorcery. In the 1990s, there was a enormous movement to challenge textbooks and literature in schools on the grounds that it promoted secular humanism and oppose traditional religions like Catholicism and evangelical Protestant, Evangelical belief. And and this the challenges to Harry Potter arose out of the same movement. And so there were challenges in Michigan and all across the country brought by Christians who are deeply concerned about the witchcraft portrayed in the book. And as the book series developed, they also critiqued the fact that Harry Potter and Hermione and Rupert were had to defy adult authority sometimes to achieve good, and began to criticize the book for promoting disruptive behavior, defiance of adult authority as well. Probably the most well known campaign that arose from this period was conducted in Georgia. Georgia, of all places, a particular parent felt that Harry Potter was so damaging to young people that she sued to have it removed from the public library and the public schools in Georgia, and she pursued her case all the way to the state, Board of Education and the Supreme Court. But fortunately, those two bodies protected the First Amendment right of students to access and read harry potter in the library that they felt that someone’s religious objection shouldn’t bar access to a book that was secular in in nature. The most recent incident, though, that we’re aware of is a priest who had supervisory authority over his parishes elementary school, removed the Harry Potter books from that library on the advice of church exorcists who felt that students could use the books to actually cast spells or summon demons and he felt that this is such a threat to the souls of the students that he had to protect them from it by removing the books. Now I have to tell you that the parents of the students didn’t agree with his reasoning and felt that the book should remain in the library and they protested his actions. However, this is because it was a Catholic school a private school the First Amendment doesn’t apply in those circumstances, private schools can make decisions about the books in their curriculum and on the shelves of the library that public schools can’t because the First Amendment doesn’t apply in those To those schools. So while we can protest it and argue against it on intellectual freedom grounds that in fact these books illuminate a great battle between good and evil. And like Tolkien’s books or like CS Lewis’s books can be treated as an allegory about the triumph of good over evil and thus should be available in a religious schools classroom. There’s not a legal remedy for the decision of a school to remove those books, but rather public protest, led by the parents by the students to change the decision to remove the books from the library. W mentioned in very interesting phrase that someone challenged a book because it was damaging to young adults. And Kristin when you showed that top 11 most challenge books infographic, we saw that a lot of frequently challenged books are for children and young adult adult audiences. Could you talk a little bit about why we’re kind of seeing that, that if it’s a trend or if challenges have targeted young adult and children’s books throughout history. I think that we can say that, and it’s this is my observation working here for a number of years, I don’t think there’s any dispute that adults should be able to freely access adult books intended for an adult audience. Although, you could argue that 50 Shades of Grey is the exception that proves the rule because that was challenged the year very frequently challenged the year it was published, based on the sexual situations depicted in the book. But more often than not, we don’t see challenges to books for adults. But what we see contested our books provided to young people, whether it’s adolescents or children. Because there is a sincerely held belief that words do have power that they have an ability to change minds and affect emotions and you know when you you know, we have when you think about it, a challenge is actually a statement of faith that books and words do have power to do just that change lives change minds. change someone’s opinion and they’re thinking. But that’s exactly what the First Amendment protects is the freedom of conscience, the freedom of choice about what one reads and what one thinks about and opinion ones forms. And so, it protects the right to receive information, the right to read And the courts have extended this right to young people as well as to adults. And so we’re very much involved in the work of defending young people’s right to read. Despite this belief that books have all this have the power to change minds. In fact, we celebrate that, don’t we, when we celebrate literacy and reading and the joy and emotion that books can bring to our lives. I think that You know, that’s what we need to be thoughtful about that books are very important. They can be very precious and I’ve seen young people cherish books. I was involved in working on a challenge to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and for the young men who were attending that school where the challenge was taking place, they love that book it reflected their lives because it was an impoverished community in a rural area and they really identified with the protagonist and Absolutely True Diary, and they were really devastated when the school board voted to remove that book from the curriculum. Thanks Deborah, I agree that words, definitely do have power. We’ve talked a little bit about fiction books. I’m wondering if either of you could talk about nonfiction books or challenges to historically accurate based on a true story or textbooks. Are those are they challenged for the same reasons? Are they challenged for different reasons? The Freedom to Read Foundation is an affiliate group that defends the freedom to read in court that was founded by a group of librarians in 1969 and they litigated a case in Texas where the school board in Texas, a state school board refused to offer a book to students because they felt that the book disparaged the oil and energy industry. It was a factual book about environmental science. And because school boards do have discretion and choosing books, the Court upheld their decision. But it illustrates the fact that books can be challenged, for reasons other than things like depicting fictional sexual situations or using profanity or illustrating the lives of LGBT characters, which is what we’re seeing most frequently today. Another book that was challenged. Actually, these are two books that were challenged on the university level. One was a book called Arming America. And it was a nonfiction book that purported to discuss this hysterics and information about gun control in the United States. And it was found later that the researcher who had written the book had meetup many of his statistics and as a result. There was challenges brought to that book and many libraries made the decision to reclassify the book, make it a reference work only and reclassify it to help people understand that the work was not accurate, and did not offer good information. Other libraries to simply chose to withdraw it from their collections, because of the factual and accuracies of the book. Another book that was challenged was called all on arms against you had, and it was a book about how terrorist organizations in the Middle East are funded by wealthy persons living in Saudi Arabia and the challenge was really a challenge to the idea that they felt that the book was disparaging to Saudi Arabian citizens and they sought to have the book removed for that reason. And in the end, the book was truthful at accurately portrayed the information that it was offering to the users. And universities in the United States decided to retain the book. Thank you. As we start to wrap up this will be the last question, and this question is from me. What is your favorite band or challenge book that you would recommend and maybe Kristin you want to kick it off. And while they’re discussing their favorite banned or challenge books, if attendees could also type in the chat box or post on Facebook, what your favorite banned book. I have many favorite banned books. I think my favorite is Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. He writes for a largely teen audience, but I have yet to find an adult who didn’t also really relate to and enjoy his books. He has an amazing way of writing a voice of a teenage male character that is just incredibly powerful and I cry and I laugh every time I read his books. So definitely, Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. My favorite banned book. I have to go back to The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I find it an absolutely moving account, Of coming of age as an indigenous person living in poverty on the rez, and the struggle to overcome that to get an education. It’s truthful. It’s funny, it’s tragic. It’s heartbreaking. I it really just was a moving experience to read that book as well for me. And you know, I just cannot recommend it enough to people I push it on friends and relatives who haven’t had the experience of reading it yet. I actually have family that live in that area of the country that the book is based in. And so I have additional reasons to appreciate and identify with it. But that’s my my recommended banned book. Thank you both so much for sharing your experiences and thank you to all the audience members who posted their questions we weren’t able to get to all of the questions. But please if you still want to ask you can tweet at us. You can email and just remember to continue the conversation using hashtag #BannedBooksWeek. Thank you so much. Please feel free to share this video and any of the resources discussed Thanks, Ellie. Thank you everyone.

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