Thursday, October 14, 2021

Cat Thursday - Halloween Week Two


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.






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Thursday, October 7, 2021

Cat Thursday - Halloween Week One


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

It's October! That means all the fall AND weekly Halloween cats! Let the fun begin!







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Friday, October 1, 2021

Banned Books Week 2021 - Spotlight on a favorite: The Handmaid's Tale


The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood has made the 100 most frequently challenged books list for three decades (since the ALA started collecting data in 1990), in 1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2019.

The following are specific years (2001-2020) and reasons for challenges of this book:

2020

Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones.”

This classic novel was included on a reading list before the beginning of a twelfth-grade advanced placement literature and composition class at a north Atlanta suburb’s high school in Georgia. A student’s mother forbade him from choosing the book. Alleging “porn and gore and cursing,” the mother wanted the book removed from the high school and held prayer circles outside the library while a committee of more than a dozen staff, administrators, and parents discussed the item. Retained.

This dystopian novel was offered as a curriculum choice to students in an elective high school English class in Marietta (OH). Two complaints were filed alleging vulgarity and sexual overtones, although school officials believed the cited passages did not reflect the context of the novel. The school board voted to retain the book in the curriculum.

2018

Retained on Wyomissing (PA) High School’s summer reading list of books recommended for juniors and seniors, after a group of parents attempted to get the novel removed because of vulgar language and graphic depictions of sex. At a curriculum and technology committee meeting with the acting superintendent, administrators decided to retain the book and develop additional options for families who choose not to read it.

2014

Challenged, but retained as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School in Guilford County (NC) because the book is “sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt.” Some parents thought the book is “detrimental to Christian values.”

2013

Challenged as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School in Guilford County (NC) because the book is “sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt.”

2007

The Judson (TX) school board overturned the superintendent’s ban of the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum. The review committee of students, teachers and parents had appealed the ban to the school board.

2006

The Judson (TX) school board overturned the superintendent’s ban of the novel from an advanced placement English curriculum.

2002

Challenged in Texas due to description’s of sexual encounters.

2001

Downgraded from “required” to “optional” for the 11th grade summer reading list in Upper Moreland (PA) school district for age inappropriate subject matter.


"Atwood said she didn’t include any events in the book that hadn’t already happened in history or any technology not already available. “No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities,” she wrote in the New York Times in 2017. The result is a book about a theocratic dictatorship that takes over the United States after climate change and declining birth rates threaten to cripple the nation’s economy. Fertile women are reproductive slaves, forced to bear children for the elite. In the 1980s, when it was published, the book read as a response to the political rise of Christian fundamentalists, the bombing of abortion clinics and the control of those behind the Iron Curtain. As we sit in 2021 with climate change threatening our coastlines and crops, a rising threat of nationalism and attempts to chip away at the hard-fought rights of women, minorities and the LGBTQ community, the plot seems evermore an apt prediction. What could be more important now than a book that explores the dangers of totalitarianism as we watch democracy challenged on the very steps of Congress? A book that explores the power of women as the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements push the next wave of feminism forward? A book with dire warnings about what can happen when resources get scarce, as drought and wildfires have become the new norm for a swath of our country? Because of its plausibility, "The Handmaid’s Tale" is timeless and relevant. It was a necessary book in the 1980s and it's still a necessary book in 2021." – Katie Wedell
(from a USA Today article, September 28, 2021)

An excerpt from my thoughts on the book when I read it in 2017:

"I'm wondering if now was a good time to read a book like this...because it scared me, and I had a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach throughout reading it. I now realize that it's an important read because it demonstrates why we must fight to keep the freedoms we have won. We must not let our status as women be demoted to that of the women in this book. We must not let the tenets of our Constitution (United States) be trampled upon. The freedom of speech, of the press, to address grievances. The separation of church and state."

Read the rest of my thoughts on the book here. 
 


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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Cat Thursday - Coffee 3.0


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.






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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Banned Books Week 2021 - Spotlight on a favorite: The Giver


The Giver by Lois Lowry has made the 100 most frequently challenged books list for three decades (since the ALA started collecting data in 1990), in 1990-1999, 2000-2009, and 2010-2019

Released in 1993, it has been one of the most controversial books in American schools. Between 1990 and 1999, The Giver ranked 11th on the list of the books most frequently requested for removal. In the 2000s it was 23rd, just two spots below To Kill a Mockingbird. Just under one-third of all challenges of The Giver (for which the outcome was reported) resulted in a removal. The state that has seen the most attempts at removal is Texas, but the book has also been challenged in Massachusetts, Washington, and many other states all over the country. 

The most frequently cited reasons to challenge The Giver have been “violence” and claims that the book is “unsuited to [the] age group”— or in other words that it’s too dark for children. Also, "sexually explicit," "Religious Viewpoint," and "Suicide." (Insider, August 15, 2014)

A must-read dystopian novel for any teen, I first read this book in middle school, and then I reread it in high school and college. The main character, a tween named Jonas, is given the important role as ‘Receiver of Memory,’ where he is supposed to retain the beautiful and dark moments others in his community can't see. He can see color in a black-and-white world as well as the environment, animals, human emotions and past experiences. The book sheds light on the importance of freedom and living life as one chooses to, but the message goes deeper than that. Valuing our relationships with our friends, family, and colleagues in the real world is a gift. Oftentimes, we lose sight of what makes our life beautiful, even though it is right in front of us. And those lessons are conveyed elegantly in this book, from start to finish. Life is spontaneous and crazy, and there shouldn’t be someone telling us how to live our life when we have the ability to carve our own destiny. Banning this book would be a loss for children, not a gain – Sudiksha Kochi  (from a USA Today article, September 28, 2021)

My personal experience with the book, to touch on what Kochi talked about above, was the gut-wrenching reality of family not meaning what it means in our society. Honestly, it made me cry. The story's focus on personal freedom and choice, and the value of relationships, made for a truly powerful read. Certainly an important read for today's young people. 

Read my review of The Giver here


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Monday, September 27, 2021

Banned Books Week 2021


It's that time again. Another year, another bout of targeting books. Let's take a look at the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020. You'll probably notice a few of the titles seem to make the list almost every year. This year's theme is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." I'm planning to share a few posts this week, but have not quite decided what I will be covering. Stay tuned.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:
  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message
What about you? Are you surprised by any of the titles appearing on the list? 


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Thursday, September 23, 2021

Cat Thursday - Autumn is here!


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.







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