Giving Thanks for the Freedom to Read

cbldf_logoIt’s Thanksgiving, and CBLDF is taking a moment to reflect on a busy year of defending comic books from censorship. We have a lot to be thankful for — key victories for the freedom to read, great supporters and members, and another year of exciting work on behalf of the First Amendment rights of the comics community.

Let’s take a look at just a few of those victories for which we are so thankful…


In March, Chicago Public Schools tried to remove Marjan Satrapi’s acclaimed graphic novel Perspolis from classrooms and school districts throughout the city. CBLDF jumped to action and joined student protesters, educators, parents, and people around the world to decry the censorship, and CPS rescinded the removal order. More…


Neil Gaiman is a long-time supporter of the Fund’s work, and this year we found ourselves coming to his aid when his bestselling novel Neverwhere was challenged in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The book was returned to classrooms after the approval of a review committee and worldwide protest that included a letter signed by CBLDFMore…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

CBLDF helped score a victory for free speech when the Glen Ellyn, Illinois, school board lifted their ban on Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This victory was hard won by a grassroots movement that included letters from CBLDF-sponsored Kids’ Right to Read Project, a letter-writing campaign led by the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the vocal opposition of students, teachers, parents, and even acclaimed author Judy Blume.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

CBLDF subscribes to the idea that censorship is a slippery slope and that banning any book opens the door to the removal of other books, including (and even especially) comics. This year, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian maintained its reputation as one of the most challenged YA novels, and CBLDF showed support for the book in several challenges. We scored victories in Montana and Massachussetts.

The Diary of a Young Girl

CBLDF-sponsored Kids’ Right to Read Project and several other free speech organizations signed a letter in defense of the definitive edition of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, which one woman wanted removed from classrooms based on a single passage that describes Frank’s exploration of her own body. In a victory for free speech, the Michigan school district to which the letter was addressed elected to keep the book in middle school classrooms, siding with CBLDF’s argument that the book’s removal would amount to censorship!

Invisible Man

The Randolph County Board of Education banned Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man from shelves throughout the district despite two review committees’ recommendation that the book be retained. The book was on a summer reading list, but was not required reading and alternate selections were available. The ban was instituted after a peculiar multi-page complaint from a parent, and school board members seemed baffled by the immediate negative response to the removal. CBLDF signed a letter in defense of the book and it was returned to classrooms.

Mexican American Studies

When the Tucson Unified School District ended their acclaimed Mexican American Studies program in response to partisan (and likely unconstitutional) legislation, they removed — by some accounts, forcibly — seven titles by Mexican American and Native authors from classrooms. In interest of supporting the works of Latino comics creators, who could also be targeted by such actions, CBLDF joined a coalition of free speech advocates in writing a letter to TUSD in early 2012. This year, after a tumultuous and ongoing fight, the books were allowed back into classrooms. CBLDF has also joined an amicus brief challenging the law that targeted the MAS program. More…

A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl

In September, CBLDF joined the CBLDF-sponsored Kids’ Right to Read Project to send a letter to the Currituck County High School Board of Education in defense of A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, a critically-acclaimed novel by Tanya Lee Stone. The school board voted 4-1 to keep the book in the library. More…

These are just a few of the victories — big and small — that CBLDF help win on behalf of the freedom to read. We need your help to keep fighting! Get in the Spirit of Giving, and help support CBLDF’s important First Amendment work by getting personalized holiday giftsmaking a donation, or becoming a member of CBLDF!