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Censorship in Tucson, Arizona: Exercise Your Rights

We all had the chance to celebrate the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week from September 24th to October 1st, 2011. During this time, readers of all ages were encouraged to read materials that were challenged for a variety reasons. Now, only a few months later, a new challenge to intellectual freedom has arisen in Arizona:

Tucson, Arizona, public schools suspended their Mexican-American studies program after an administrative law judge ruled it violated a new state law and the state said the local district was going to lose $15 million in annual aid, officials said. (CNN)

Basically the law prevents “ethnic studies classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” On January 31, 2012, the ALA announced that they were totally opposed to restricting books based on their cultural or ethnic content. Encouraged by ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement, which says, “No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say,” here is a list of books students in Arizona can no longer read.

If you are curiosus to know how the authors feel about being banned from school classrooms, check out American Indians in Children’s Literature (AICL). Fellow YALSA bloggers also have a lot to say about censorship; check out these Hub posts about challenged material:

I encourage everyone to watch the news to see where this trend of cultural censorship is going; it could be coming to a school or public library near you.

— Laura C Perenic is reading How to Save a Life by Sarah Zarr (2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults)

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Laura Perenic

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