Read Between the Lies

Two very different boys, one new family, a shared struggle and a big secret.

Ryan didn’t want a new mum, let alone a new brother! But when his parents split up and his dad moves in with Naomi, she comes with Tommy – one year older, chucked out of his old school and now joining Ryan’s class. Great. Suddenly sharing a home and a classroom with a complete stranger is a bit much.

Flung together, the two boys clash, but gradually realise that they are more similar than they thought.

Zephyr

The dual perspectives of this story were brilliantly done, two distinct and realistic voices that wouldn’t have worked individually. I was gripped by the story, the way the relationship between the two boys developed, and the relationships with all the grownups. Tommy’s discovery of a secret (and what that secret was) kept my heart in my mouth for him. Also, the dyslexia friendly font is very readable!

Malcom Duffy has written a bit about the inspiration behind the story:

We all face challenges at some point in our lives. My parents divorced when I was a teenager. Many young people face struggles and I like to explore these in my stories, looking at how the drama unfolds, how different characters react to their problems, the mistakes they make along the way, and the solutions they find.

My latest teen novel, Read Between the Lines, is a story of dyslexia, drama and deceit. It tells the tale of 16 year old Ryan, and 17 year old Tommy, two teens who are from different parts of the country, with different backgrounds, and who go to different schools. But they have something in common– they’re both dyslexic. While Ryan has come to terms with his dyslexia and is succeeding at school, Tommy is in denial, and won’t seek support. Tommy’s issue comes to a head when he’s forced to face his greatest fear – reading in public. He turns to the one person he never thought he’d ask for help – Ryan.

The issue of lies also plays a big part in the story. We sometimes try to keep the truth hidden. This can be for many reasons – fear, shame, embarrassment, stubbornness. But lies can come back to haunt us. The novel explores how the truth, however painful, is always better than a lie.

So why did I pick on dyslexia as the theme for my new novel? My teenage daughter, Tallulah, has dyslexia, so I know first-hand about the issues involved, and the effects it can have. I also have experience in screenwriting and was fortunate enough to be asked to write a short film about dyslexia, called Mical. It tells the incredible real life story of Mike and Pat Jones, and how Pat helped her dyslexic son to read and write. Mike had been thrown out of various schools for being difficult, aggressive, and stupid. But his mum knew her son was bright, and that his behaviour was purely down to his learning difficulty. She developed her own teaching techniques to help Mike who went on to be a star pupil. Mike and Pat Jones then set up the online learning platform for dyslexics called Nessy. The film can be found on YouTube, where it’s had over 1.7 million views.

I thought dyslexia would make an unusual subject for a novel, as it’s very common, but often misunderstood. Some dyslexics don’t even know they have it. And it can have a  negative impact on lives unless it’s dealt with. I carried out a lot of research into the subject, with my daughter, other family members, as well as experts who have spent years dealing with dyslexia and its impact.

Huge numbers of young people battle with dyslexia. If left untreated it can lead to low self-esteem, behaviour problems, anxiety, aggression, withdrawal. While many get the help they need from parents, schools, specialists, many others don’t. I’d like dyslexics to realise there is help available, and that dyslexia is no barrier to leading a successful, fulfilling life. I’d like non-dyslexics to be more understanding of what it means to be dyslexic, to be kind, supportive, understanding.

I hope the book can achieve this and give the reader a story that is in turns, humorous and heart-warming.

 Malcolm Duffy

Malcolm Duffy (photo credit James W. Fortune)

Read Between the Lies by Malcolm Duffy is out now in hardback from Zephyr

Thank you to Fritha Lindqvist for organising a review copy and to Malcolm for his guest post

Truth Be Told – guest post by Sue Divin

Northern Ireland. 2019.

Tara has been raised by her mam and nan in Derry City. Faith lives in rural Armagh.

Their lives on opposite sides of a political divide couldn’t be more different. Until they come face-to-face with each other and are shocked to discover they look almost identical. Are they connected?

In searching for the truth about their own identities, the teenagers uncover more than they bargained for.

But what if finding out who you truly are means undermining everything you’ve ever known?

Macmillan Children’s Books

Very pleased to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Irish author Sue Divin’s second powerful novel: Truth Be Told, with a guest post!

Writing in a pandemic

What are you working on next?

Like many people, I think the pandemic has disrupted the ‘normal’ of everything in our lives. I spend more of my time not writing than writing – although if I’m not writing at all I can feel quite out of balance. Writing is like a release. Like many writers though, writing is not my full-time job. I had planned to take a year out once Guard Your Heart was published but the Covid pandemic put paid to that.

About six months after Guard Your Heart was published, I did make the decision to change from working full-time in my ‘day job’ to just 4 days a week. That has helped the stress levels a bit! Managing an EU funded Peace and Reconciliation programme for my local council still takes up most of my week – and my favourite bit of that is working with local communities and seeing projects make a difference to people’s lives.

My life circumstances have also made me a single parent to a brilliant teenage son with high-functioning ASD (autism/aspergers). The lockdown/home schooling phases of the pandemic were not fun. Thankfully at this stage of the pandemic, things seem to be becoming a bit more normal again. What keeps me on an even keel are things like walking/hiking and swimming. I’m also a musician – I play guitar and tin whistle. Lattes with friends are top of my favourite-things-to-do list and on a dark winter’s night, I’ll rarely say no to a warm fire, salty popcorn and a good movie.

I don’t have a specific new novel on the go yet, though I’m toying with some characters and a cross-border setting from Derry into Donegal. I’ve a fascination with a place called Fort Dunree in County Donegal. So much so, that I’ve already written two short stories based there – each with connections to my novels. Perhaps it’s time to explore a novel itself having that ingrained into its setting and psyche.

Over the last few months, I’ve started to get invitations to speak at literary festivals and occasional dialogue events. I’m also building up my skills in learning how to mentor other emerging writers and facilitating creative writing workshops. It’s fantastic fun and definitely an area of work that I love but, especially because it’s all quite new to me and because I live in the north-west of Ireland where historical political decisions meant that no motorways were built and the rail network was reduced, it’s quite time consuming. I’ve also been trying to tackle my TBR (to be read) pile but am not winning. This is entirely my own fault – I can resist books and bookshops. Once I’ve finally blethered all these excuses out of my system, I’m pretty sure a third novel will surface. I’m also pretty sure it will still be YA because I can’t resist writing teenagers – they’re the absolute best.

Truth Be Told by Sue Divin is out now in paperback (£7.99, Macmillan Children’s Books)

With a Masters in Peace and Conflict studies and a day job in Community Relations/Peace building in Derry for over fifteen years, Sue’s writing often touches on diversity and reconciliation in today’s Northern Ireland. Her first novel, Guard Your Heart, was shortlisted for the 2019 Caledonia Novel Award, was a Finalist in the Irish Novel Fair 2019 and was longlisted in the Mslexia Children’s Novel Award.

Check out the rest of the blog tour!

When Library Boards Turn

Library trustees are powerful advocates for libraries.  Through the coordination, hard work, and determination of trustees, new libraries have been built, budgets have been restored and increased, and new respect has been generated for the powerful role libraries play in communities and on campuses. As part of a trustee board, trustees serve on a volunteer basis, can be elected or appointed to a library board for a period of time, and are tasked with the duty of helping to direct the funds and policies of an institution. In general, the library board of trustees has a role in determining the mission of the library, setting the policy that governs the library, hiring and evaluating a library director, and overseeing the general management of the library.

[source: http://www.ilovelibraries.org/get-involved/become-library-trustee]

A library board is a group of citizens responsible for the governing of a public library. Board members are the vital link between the library and its community. Board members serve as library advocates and leaders in developing responsible and creative library service to all members of the public. 

[source: https://nlc.nebraska.gov/trustees/boardmanual/chap1.aspx]

Library Boards are guided in their duties by the Library Mission as well as strategic plans and policies. These are in turn informed by the American Library Association Library Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, codes of ethics and more.

Library Boards that work well are virtually invisible, they exist to make sure that the Library is fulfilling its stated mission of serving the needs of the community.

Across the US there have been several Library Boards that have started turning on the Libraries that they ostensibly serve.

Mid-Continent Public Library Director Steven Potter resigned after the board led a campaign against diversity, equity and inclusion programs:

The current 12-member board, including four members appointed by each of three counties — Jackson, Clay and Platte — has been bent on blocking programs for LGBTQ youth and squashing moves to increase diversity.

The Niles-Maine Library District Board has been divided and at odds over controversial proposals brought forward by the new trustees, including the hiring of a political ally as a library consultant at $100 per hour and a freeze on hiring, capital projects and material purchases.

The changes led to the resignation of the Library Director, who in her letter of resignation warned the board that they are protectors, not destroyers, and you cannot allow anyone on the board or off the board to destroy this precious institution.

More information on the Coalition to save the Niles Maine Library can be found here: https://www.nilescoalition.org/2021/07/03/more-info/

Ideological divisions were on display at a recent ImagineIF Libraries Board retreat, with a trustee pushing against libraries offering hotspots to patrons that have no internet access and wanting to remove ALA language from ImagineIF policy (that would be the Library Bill of Rights and more. The board member went on to state that: trustees are supposed to be apolitical, and therefore being aligned with an organization that takes “leftist” political stances is not in the library’s best interest.

The neutrality of libraries is a discussion that needs to be had, but when board members openly rail against what they perceive to be “leftist stances and services” and agitate for their removal they are not being neutral, and when they try and edit library policies to silence voices and end services to patrons and marginalized communities then they are actively trying to create a hostile environment within the library service they oversee, making it unwelcoming to those they perceive as opposing their political views.

As more and more activists on the right attempt to paint libraries as havens of inappropriate materials, crawling with staff holding “leftist” views, the situation will become more fraught. Library Boards should be balanced, the moment they have a reactionary majority that views their ideological views as superior to those of others then “neutrality” goes out the window and services to underserved communities are cut and staff get forced out.

Right wing groups are working off a playbook first developed to take over school boards to control what is being taught to children and they are now focusing on libraries. With turnout in local elections traditionally low, it is easy for a group to get enough people organized to sway the vote.

Related Articles:

Libraries aren’t neutral ground in the fight for anti-racist education

Right-Wingers Are Taking Over Library Boards to Remove Books on Racism

Mid-Continent Public Library Board blasted as banned books comments suggest censorship

Is Qanon radicalizing your School Board?

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

Percy Jackson meets Black Panther – this blockbuster middle-grade adventure is perfect for fans of Amari and the Night Brothers.

Cameron Battle grew up reading The Book of Chidani, cherishing stories about the fabled kingdom that cut itself off from the world to save the Igbo people from danger. Passed down over generations, the Book is Cameron’s only connection to his parents, who disappeared one fateful night two years ago.

Ever since, his grandmother has kept the Book locked away, but it calls to Cameron. When he and his best friends, Zion and Aliyah, decide to open it again, they are magically transported to Chidani. Instead of a land of beauty and wonder, they find a kingdom in extreme danger, as the queen’s sister seeks to destroy the barrier between worlds. The people of Chidani have been waiting for the last Descendant to return and save them … Is Cameron ready to be the hero they need?

Inspired by West African and Igbo history and mythology, this adventure-filled fantasy introduces readers to Cameron Battle as he begins his journey to greatness.

Bloomsbury

CAMERON BATTLE AND THE HIDDEN KINGDOMS is a classic, exciting, fantasy adventure, with a beautiful friendship at its heart. The reflections on slavery are thoughtful, as Cameron learns the history of his family and their relationship to The Book and the kingdom of Chidani, magically hidden from the world, when he and his two best friends get pulled into Chidani and find themselves on a dangerous quest! My very favourite thing about the book is the relationship between Cameron and Zion: I just loved reading about life-long friends who defend one another to the hilt, support each other when they’re scared, and clearly show how much they love one another through words and actions – with all of that you’d think Aliyah might seem like a third wheel but she plays an important role in the trio and I couldn’t imagine the book without her.

You lucky people can read an extract of the first two chapters here:

If you need to know what happens next you’re in luck, as it is published today, the day the UK celebrates World Book Day! I always say that any book published on such an auspicious day has to be brilliant…

Cameron Battle and the Hidden Kingdoms

Mark My Words

Fifteen-year-old Dua Iqbal has always had trouble minding her own business. With a silver-tongue and an inquisitive nature, a career in journalism seems fated. When her school merges with another, Dua seizes her chance and sets up a rival newspaper, exposing the controversial stories that teachers and the kids who rule the school would rather keep buried.

Dua’s investigations are digging up things she shouldn’t get involved with about family, friends and her community and as exams rattle towards her, she needs to make some hard decisions about when to leave things alone. But when she discovers that some kids at school are being blamed for selling drugs when the real perpetrator is right in front of their noses, she can’t keep quiet any longer.

Macmillan Kids

Muhammed Khan writes such great voices! I’ve talked about his previous two YA novels on the blog before, Ilyas from KICK THE MOON is still one of my favourite fictional teens and I loved the nod to him in MARK MY WORDS, Khan’s newly published high-school based thriller. Khan’s characters make mistakes and sometimes do the wrong thing, Dua is no exception, but they all care deeply about their friends and family and community and always want to make things better. In that, I think they’re very real teenagers, and even if the reader can’t see themselves in the main protagonist they will recognise the well developed side characters and empathise. I’d love to hear the reactions of students from both state and private schools!

I was given the opportunity to ask a few questions as part of the blog tour (see banner below for the rest of the tour):

As a teacher, have you worked in a Minerva or Bodley?

Yes! Covid made me realise I couldn’t afford to be a full-time author and I was really missing the classroom environment. Before I got my current post, I dipped my toe in supply teaching. I got a different school every day and the contrast really jumped out at me. I thought it would be a fascinating dichotomy for a YA novel. Thus, Minerva and Bodley were born!

Dua often thinks about her faith, never doubting it, did you talk to young hijabi women to help with the voice?

I grew up around hijabi women, and a number of my students wear the hijab too, so I was passionate about getting the representation right. I had lots of interesting conversations. Macmillan also got a number of sensitivity readers to make sure the characterisation felt believable.

So many things that can affect young people are broached in the book, what was most important for you to get across?

The story always comes first in my books. Teenagers hate to be preached at. Having said that I hope young people will feel inspired by Dua and her friends to speak out whenever they see wrong and not give up if they are not heard but to have the strength to keep going. We shouldn’t underestimate peer pressure or drugs culture.

Are any of your characters based on students or colleagues?

Definitely! I’m always amazed and inspired by my students and their passions. Dua is based on a few girls I’ve taught who had a level of bravery I could only have dreamed of as a teen. Hugo is based on a student I met at a very posh school.

Sadly, Dua’s mum’s story is also based in reality. In my years of teaching, I’ve heard a number of harrowing stories from colleagues facing discrimination. The power imbalance is something people are finally starting to speak up about without serious recriminations. But there’s lots more to do!

Have you thought about including covid restrictions in a future novel?

I’ve thought about it but I’m kind of hoping, like everyone else, that the restrictions will be over soon!

What are you reading at the moment and who would you recommend it to?

My students have got me into manga in a big way. I’m currently reading Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer) by Koyoharu Gotouge. Such a great read with wonderful characters and brilliant world building. I recommend it to every lover of fantasy and horror.

MARK MY WORDS by Muhammad Khan is out now in paperback (£7.99, MCB)

The Yoto Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards… what?

When I saw the announcement that the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals had been renamed the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, my first thought was “What the heck is Yoto?”

So I started poking around.

Yoto is an old idea in 21st century packaging, gone are the books on audiocassette (or even CD or MP3 player) in is a child-friendly smart speaker (set up and monitored by parents via an app) that kids can control using RFID smart cards. The smart cards provide a link to stories on a server run by Yoto, these are downloaded to the player, once this is done parents can disconnect the wifi via the app which can also be used to link “stories, songs and sounds that you record yourself. Or use songs or audiobooks from your own collection – if you have a bunch of MP3s you’d like to make a playlist from. You can also make cards from our curated selection of radio stations and podcasts, so you can play these on your player directly from a card without needing to go via the app.

Yoto also offers a monthly subscription club for £9.99 per month or £99 per year with free shipping 10% discount on all purchases and two cards per month sent to your address. Full details here: https://uk.yotoplay.com/pages/yoto-club

Online response seems to have been overwhelmingly positive:

To quote but a few.

It has been touted that this partnership will reach more people and inspire more children which is of course hard to refute, but only if people can afford to purchase the Yoto Player and all the books to be played on it.

In the UK the basic Yoto Player retails for £79.99 and the portable Yoto Mini goes for £49.99.

Smart card prices start at £1.99 for podcasts, with most books ranging between £4.99 to £11.99 with collections of cards going up to £19.99.

Having been keeping a close eye on news out of the UK and seeing the difficulties many families are having with food costs, travel high energy bills, I fear that these devices and the smart cards may be out of reach for many that may benefit from them.

As Joy has said, this partnership will make the CILIP CKG (actually the Yoto CKG) Awards more financially secure; but in return Yoto gets the implied imprimatur of CILIP and the CKG Awards themselves which have stood for outstanding quality since 1936 (Carnegie) and 1955 (Kate Greenaway).

At this point it is hard to see who would be getting the better end of the deal.

As a former CKG Judge I have strong feelings about the Awards and whenever something crops up concerning them I get concerned. These concerns may be meaningless but I will watch how things develop going forward while hoping for the best.

FInd out more about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards here: https://www.cilip.org.uk/page/CarnegieGreenaway

Find out more about Yoto Player here: https://uk.yotoplay.com/

The Canary in the Coalmine

Back before modern technology rendered such practices obsolete, miners used to take canaries down into coal mines with them. The reason they took them down was not so the miners could enjoy the singing of the birds while they worked, there was a darker reason…

Being considerably smaller and lighter than the average miner meant that the canary would be affected faster by the toxic gasses that built up in mine shafts. When the canary stopped singing and fell off its perch in the cage this would usually give miners enough warning to get out before they too, were overcome.

Libraries both Public & School are the canaries in the coalmine of society. Whenever the poisonous ideas of fascist thought bubble up, it is in libraries and schools that we see the early warning signs of what is to come. One of these signs is an uptick in challenges to books by and about people in certain communities usually (but not limited to) People of Color, LGBTQ+ and other minority groups.

Challenges to books in school & public libraries are nothing new, these have been going on for decades. The American Library Association runs annual lists of the most challenged books in US Libraries.

What is happening now goes beyond such standard challenges. I believe that Texas currently leads the nation in the sheer industrial scale of attempted and actual book bans. Matt Krause a Texas lawmaker compiled a list of over 800 books that he feels could make (white) readers feel uncomfortable. The majority of these books focus on sexuality, racism and US history.

To date the largest splash has been made by the banning of the teaching of the Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel Maus, created by Art Spiegelman the son of two Holocaust survivors, it details the experiences of his parents before and during WW2. According to the McMinn County School Board, who voted 7-0 to deny teachers the opportunity of teaching the book due to a single panel of nudity and some bad language that (allegedly) made them feel uncomfortable. This has made the 40-year-old graphic novel a cause célèbre in the current discourse around book banning and also the number one selling item on Amazon. While many commentators have celebrated the Streisand Effect that has made this book more well-known than ever before, the fact that students are being denied the opportunity to critically engage with the text while studying the Holocaust is nothing to be happy about.

Other books that have had banning attempts made against them across the US include Maia Kobabe’s memoir Gender Queer, This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez – all for celebrating LGBTQ+ & queer themes, making them in the eyes of the adults that wish to control what young people read, unsuitable in some way for a teen audience.

It is not just books about the Holocaust or explorations of young people’s sexuality that are targeted; Stamped by Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and New Kid by Jerry Craft and other similar texts have all faced accusations of containing critical race theory, being anti-police or just books that upset white readers.

The right-wing coopting of school boards has allowed many boards to blatantly ignore or rewrite policies and procedures that were established to deal with challenges, and instead just pull books from their shelves; in some cases, this has been done to prevent complaints and accusations of criminality or worse. Often the censorship is preemptive, with school library workers just not purchasing materials they know will garner complaints, this is not a criticism, I know from first-hand experience how terrifying accusations of carrying pornography or being a criminal just for having certain books on your library shelves can be; but the effect is just as insidious – it is also harder to identify or push back against, or to even identify such practices when they occur.

It is not only school boards that are at risk of right-wing takeover, more recently it is being recognized that Library Boards are becoming enticing targets of conservative ideologues. The recent take-over of the Niles-Maine District Library Is a damning example of how destructive the influence of a board hostile the very nature of a public library can be!

In Mississippi, the mayor of Ridgeland, Gene McGee is withholding $110,000 of funding from the Madison County Library System, demanded that the system initiate a purge of LGBTQ+ books before his office releases the money. The mayor is alleged to have said that the library can serve whoever they wanted, but that he only serves the great Lord above. Which, if accurate seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding on his part of what the role of civil servants in society actually entails.

On a related note, the Furry subculture, having heard about Mayor McGee’s homophobia, has stepped up and has spent the past week rallying around the Madison County Library successfully helping raise funds for the Library .

Library workers in the Campbell County Public Library of Wyoming have faced legal charges for having books on sexuality, gender identity and LGBTQ+ issues in their teen section although the sheriff’s office declined to investigate them and the Library Board backed the Library and did not direct them to remove the items facing the challenge.

There are thousands of these reactionary fires burning across the US and it is easy to become dispirited as the task of pushing back against and extinguishing them may seem too vast to accomplish.

An effective way to fight against this is to research your local school and library boards to discover where they stand, if their actions align with your views then stand behind and support them when it comes time for local elections. If however they have started down the slippery slope of blatant and unconstitutional bans you can organize friends, family and neighbors and stand for school & library boards and local elections or find someone who is already running and support them! If you are unable to stand for local elections then where possible attend board meetings and make your support for uncensored access to reading materials known to the boards and where possible encourage others to do the same.

If you believe in the public library service and schools then it is important to make your voice heard, because if you don’t – who will?

Coda: I had finished working on this when I saw the news that Greg Locke a Pastor in Tennessee had held a book burning just outside Nashville. Included in the burning event were copies of Harry Potter and Twilight books. It brought to mind the words of the German poet Heinrich Heine: “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”

Related links:

How to Fight Book Bans and Censorship: https://bookriot.com/how-to-fight-book-bans-and-challenges/

How to Support Libraries in times of Increased Censorship: https://bookriot.com/support-libraries-against-censorship/

What’s It Like to Be the Target of A Book Banning Effort? School Librarian Martha Hickson Tells Her Story. https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=from-the-breaking-point-to-fighting-anew-school-librarian-martha-hickson-shares-her-story-of-battling-book-banning-censorship

Banned: Books on race and sexuality are disappearing from Texas schools in record numbers https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/texas-books-race-sexuality-schools-rcna13886

‘We’re Preparing For a Long Battle.’ Librarians Grapple With Conservatives’ Latest Efforts to Ban Books https://time.com/6117685/book-bans-school-libraries/

Save Niles Library https://www.nilescoalition.org/savenileslibrary/

Schools are banning my book. But queer kids need queer stories. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/10/29/schools-are-banning-my-book-queer-kids-need-queer-stories/

LGBTQ Books Are Being Banned. Their Authors Are Fighting Back. https://www.thedailybeast.com/lgbtq-books-are-being-banned-their-authors-are-fighting-back

Book bans in schools are catching fire. Black authors say uproar isn’t about students. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/book-bans-schools-are-catching-fire-black-authors-say-uproar-isnt-stud-rcna10228

NCAC Coalition Statement on the Attack on Books in Schools https://ncac.org/news/attack-on-books

The push to ban books in Texas schools spreads to public libraries https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/education/texas-schools-public-libraries/285-fdacc918-48a2-4c94-8ef7-8ae5f8d344b1

Kansas district orders 29 books removed from circulation https://www.kshb.com/news/local-news/kansas-district-orders-29-books-removed-from-circulation

How a Small School District Became a Focal Point in the Battle Over Texas Book Censorship https://www.snopes.com/news/2022/02/01/texas-school-district-book-bans/ GOP Legislators Target Librarians for Prosecution, Fines Under new Bill https://iowastartingline.com/2022/02/04/gop-legislators-target-librarians-for-prosecution-fines-under-new-bill/

The Pod(y) in the Library: The Canary in the Coalmine

Anti-Authoritarian Books for Young Readers

The Borribles – Michael de Larrabeiti

The Chocolate War – Robert Cormier

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren

Little Brother – Corey Doctorow

R for Rebel – J. Anderson Coats

The Rabbits Rebellion – Ariel Dorfman

Animal Farm, 1984 – George Orwell

The First Rule of Punk – Celia C. Perez

Yertle the Turtle – Dr Seuss

Horton Hears a Who – Dr Seuss

The Boy Who Dared – Susan Campbell Bartoletti

A Rule Is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy… – John Seven and Jana Christy

A Handful of Stars – Cynthia Lord

The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins

Art Spiegelman’s Maus banned by Mcminn County School Board

In another shocking I can’t believe this is happening in the 21st century, the The Mcminn County School Board banned the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust.

The ban which is already garnering accusations of Antisemitism happened due to accusations of “crudity” within the seminal work. Apparently the inclusion of words like “God Damn” and “naked pictures” (illustrations) of mouse women were considered beyond the pale

No mention was made of the inhumane treatment meted out to the Jewish characters portrayed in the book.

I utterly condemn this move of cultural vandalism by an organization that is supposed to oversee the education of the children in the schools controlled by the board.

http://tnholler.com/2022/01/mcminn-county-bans-maus-pulitzer-prize-winning-holocaust-book/

The Mcminn County School Board

Update:

The School Board has released a statement via the schools Twitter feed doubling down on the ban, citing nudity and unnecessary language. You can read it below.