Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Obligatory intellectual freedom post

It's the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. Intellectual freedom is one of my most heartfelt beliefs, something on which I have written and presented. And I was thrilled when my incredible instructional assistant suggested putting together a display for the event. She wrapped titles in brown paper and put incendiary objections on the front: "I am Satanic" for Harry Potter, "I am racist" for To Kill a Mockingbird (which the freshmen are reading, perfectly enough), "I am communist" for Animal Farm. It has been quite the topic of conversation as they rifle the shelf. My principal said it was "a principal's nightmare," just before suggesting we add The Bible. I was thrilled when SLJ featured Cassie's handiwork on its Facebook page.

The most perfect reaction, however, came from a ninth grader. Were we getting rid of those books? No, I told her, it was to raise awareness. Some people will complain about anything. She said she had something she wanted to request then. Fifty Shades of Gray. We won't be getting that one, I told her. Well, she said, I have another one. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I told her I would order that one. From Fifty Shades to Wimpy Kid in one fell swoop. Teenagers can be very funny.

I'm in Georgia for COMO's Youth Services preconference today, so I didn't put anything together for Banned Website Awareness, but over-filtering is less of an issue in my new district. The kids can get to email, twitter, facebook, but strangely, none of us can look at GoodReads. I still haven't figured that one out.

In other news, I was on Steve Thomas's Circulating Ideas podcast, which was a little thrill as I'm a fan.

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