CBLDF has joined a Kids’ Right to Read Project-led coalition to protest the removal of Sarah and Ian Hoffman’s Jacob’s New Dress from a first grade anti-bullying program in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina.
CBLDF is a sponsor of KRRP. CBLDF joins coalition efforts like these to protect the freedom to read comics. Censorship manifests in many ways, and the unique visual nature of comics makes them more prone to censorship than other types of books. Taking an active stand against all instances of censorship curbs precedent that could adversely affect the rights upon which comics readers depend.
The school district reversed course on a plan to have all first graders read the picture book, which centers on a gender-nonconforming boy who wants to wear a dress to school, under pressure from North Carolina state legislators. The book was part of an anti-bullying program designed to comply with Title IX requirements on sexual harassment awareness.
The KRRP letter “expresses serious concerns that political power was used to meddle in school curriculum based on the teaching of ideas that are ideologically unpopular,” and that efforts to remove such material “violate the spirit of the First Amendment.”
National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers for Free Expression, Association of American Publishers, Authors Guild, and PEN America also signed the letter, which can be read in full below.