In late September, we take part in Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of reading. This year, the focus of Banned Books Week was comic books and graphic novels, so CBLDF led the way with the CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook and other resources to help educators, librarians, and retailers celebrate the right to read!
Boasting a cover by Jeff Smith, whose Bone series is one of America’s most frequently challenged books, the CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook is a free resource that gives you the scoop about what comics are banned, how to report and fight censorship, and how to make a celebration of Banned Books Week in your community! This year’s Banned Books Week ran September 21 – 27, but the handbook is an essential tool to assist librarians, retailers, and educators in planning events to celebrate the right to read and a vital reference to help readers everywhere fight censorship any time of year. The handbook is currently available as a free download on CBLDF.org. Bundles of the printed handbook are also available from CBLDF.org.
In addition to the Banned Books Week Handbook, CBLDF also provided the first installments in a new series of CBLDF Discussion Guides, which provide guided questions and activities centered around challenged graphic novels, a FAQ that provides an introduction to Banned Books Week, and downloadable posters that could be used to promote Banned Books Week Events. CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein also traveled across the country to give talks in support of Banned Books Week and the right to read.
CBLDF also released Working With Libraries! A Handbook For Comics Creators in time for Banned Books Week. Working With Libraries! provides comics creators with a valuable insider’s perspective on the library world and the systems librarians have to navigate to bring comics to their patrons. The handbook details the basics of public, school, and academic libraries, explains the collection development process, and offers suggestions for ways creators can collaborate with libraries in developing events and programs.
• Persepolis Challenged in Oregon School District
• Pennsylvania School District Cancels Spamalot, Fires Teacher for Protesting
• Parents Fight Back as Texas High School Suspends Seven Books
• Painted Drum Challenge Denied in Minnesota
• Persepolis Suspended from Curriculum in Another Illinois High School
Unfortunately, all these resources didn’t stop would-be censors. In fact, some seemed to take Banned Books Week as a personal challenged to try to ban books around the country. Fortunately, we had plenty of help in protesting censorship, from our frequent partners with the National Coalition Against Censorship and the other sponsors of Banned Books Week to the parents, teachers, authors, and more who took immediate action to protest a challenge in their communities.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.
The CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook is just one tool in the fight against censorship, and you can expect CBLDF to lead the way in 2015 with even more resources for fighting censorship!
Get in the Spirit of Giving! Help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by visiting the Rewards Zone, making a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF! When you support CBLDF’s Spirit of Giving drive, The Will & Ann Eisner Family Foundation will make a contribution of $2 for every donation and gift order placed on CBLDF’s website, and they will contribute $10 for each new membership and $5 for every renewing membership made by December 31! You will also receive an exclusive download of Neil Gaiman: Live At the Aladdin, the classic CBLDF benefit reading featuring performances of “Chivalry” and “Being an Experiment Upon Strictly Scientific Lines…” and much more!