Blog Archives

NC School District Pulls Jacob’s New Dress from Curriculum After Legislator Complaints

March 24, 2017
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NC School District Pulls Jacob’s New Dress from Curriculum After Legislator Complaints

Under pressure from North Carolina state legislators, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools this week reversed course on a plan to have all first graders read the picture book Jacob’s New Dress, which centers on a gender-nonconforming boy who wants to wear a dress to school. The book was to be incorporated in an anti-bullying program to ensure the…

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Judge Hears Arguments Over Removal of Student Painting from Capitol

March 22, 2017
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Judge Hears Arguments Over Removal of Student Painting from Capitol

A federal judge heard arguments this week in a lawsuit over the removal of a painting by a St. Louis teen from the hallway of an office building in the U.S. Capitol complex. The painting by David Pulphus on the theme of police violence hung for several months alongside other student art contest winners from…

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Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Funding to Local Libraries and Museums

March 21, 2017
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Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Funding to Local Libraries and Museums

Media coverage of cuts in the proposed federal budget unveiled by President Trump last week has focused on several well-known and important programs: the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the federal funds disbursed to Meals on Wheels. But largely overshadowed by those cuts is the proposed elimination…

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China Imposes New Restrictions on Foreign Picture Books

March 20, 2017
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China Imposes New Restrictions on Foreign Picture Books

The Chinese government this month abruptly placed new restrictions on the publication of children’s picture books from abroad, reportedly in order to “reduce the influence of foreign ideas and enhance ideological control.” Authorities are not commenting directly, but four publishers confirm that a quota has been imposed on the number of foreign picture books allowed…

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Turkish Artist and Journalist Sentenced to Two Years for Painting

March 17, 2017
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Turkish Artist and Journalist Sentenced to Two Years for Painting

A Turkish artist and journalist has been sentenced to two years and 10 months in prison for her painting showing the aftermath of the government’s assault on a Kurdish city last year. Authorities claim that Zehra Doğan endangered security by depicting an ongoing military operation in Nusaybin, but in fact her painting was based on…

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Bare Shelves at Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature

March 16, 2017
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Bare Shelves at Moscow Library of Ukrainian Literature

Over a year after the former director of Moscow’s Library of Ukrainian Literature was arrested and charged with “inciting ethnic hatred” through books, the city government appears to be quietly shutting down the library with a specious “merger” into a smaller space elsewhere in the city. Technically the space remains open and staffed, but it…

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Egyptian Cartoonist Featured in New Documentary

March 14, 2017
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Egyptian Cartoonist Featured in New Documentary

The new documentary Tickling Giants puts the spotlight on the important role of satire and humor in political dissent–in this case, Egyptian heart surgeon-turned-comedian Bassem Youssef, who launched a Daily Show-inspired TV program in the midst of the Arab Spring in 2011. Featured alongside Youssef is Andeel, one of Egypt’s best-known indie cartoonists, who contributed…

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Arkansas Bill Would Ban Howard Zinn Books from Classrooms Statewide

March 13, 2017
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Arkansas Bill Would Ban Howard Zinn Books from Classrooms Statewide

A state legislator in Arkansas earlier this month introduced a bill with a very specific and highly unconstitutional goal: to ban all books by or about historian Howard Zinn from public school classrooms in the state. The bill is scheduled to be considered in the House Education Committee tomorrow; meanwhile, hundreds of Arkansas teachers and…

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VICTORY in Wisconsin: The Glass Castle Remains in High School Curriculum

March 10, 2017
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VICTORY in Wisconsin: The Glass Castle Remains in High School Curriculum

In another victory for the freedom to read, a school district review panel in Marshfield, Wisconsin unanimously voted last week to keep Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle in the curriculum for high school sophomores. A parent initially complained of “foul language, and explicit and disturbing materials” at a school board meeting in December, but…

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Musa Kart and Colleagues Still in Prison Awaiting Indictment

March 8, 2017
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Musa Kart and Colleagues Still in Prison Awaiting Indictment

It has now been over four months since Turkish cartoonist Musa Kart and several of his colleagues from Cumhuriyet newspaper were arrested on suspicion of supporting Kurdish militants and the Gulenist movement. There is little change to report in their situation, but that in itself is newsworthy: Turkey’s government has not yet managed to bring…

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