Earlier this year, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) published a digital resource for librarians as part of its push for freedom of expression (and book titles) in school libraries. The manual, an eight-page PDF file titled “Defend LGBTQ Stories,” outlines a number of difficult or delicate circumstances educators will encounter as their students develop literary tastes, and offers specific advice on how to be an ally and set an example of compassion for all students. The guide offers librarians simplified tools for de-stigmatizing LGBTQ themes, protesting banned books, staying up to date on school policy changes, communicating with the NCAC, and sharing their experiences on social media.
This fledgeling resource — a small, but mighty PDF — comes as part of a subset of the NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program called the Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP). This grassroots-inspired program unites community members and national organizations to oppose the growing tangle of restrictions placed on library media in American schools. According to the NCAC’s website, the KRRP rallies “teachers, booksellers, librarians, local reporters and free speech advocates” to protect the reading rights of students.
These subsets of the NCAC, itself an entity composed of fifty nonprofit organizations, do not have the legal clout to directly influence policy change in the American education system. Instead, they rely on time-tested community advocacy to drum up significant local support to challenge cases on an individual basis, while making these methods accessible to the public. Since 2016, for example, the Florida Citizens Alliance (FLCA) has pushed bills which aim to restrict materials allowed in Florida classrooms based on their educational value. The NCAC offers a thorough breakdown of the proposed legislation, a timeline for its development, and a history of the FLCA’s past initiatives. This document, available on the NCAC’s website, is free to read and share, and gives activists the help they need to make sure kids can read whatever they please.
While the NCAC’s resource “Defend LGBTQ Stories” is in effect a glorified How-To guide for being a properly “woke” librarian in an American school, it is nonetheless a tremendously productive and helpful tool which, in the hands of community activists and national associations alike, has the potential to effect real change and inspire a future generation that embraces diversity.
Well the trailer is here! This morning, Disney dropped the new trailer for Aladdin, revealing a whole new menagerie of classic scenes adapted in live action. And most exciting of all: the songs! Yes, folks snippets from Friend Like Me and A Whole New World are glimpsed here, allowing the sheer scope of the project to finally come into focus. Aladdin looks appropriately epic in scale, both in the breath of the sets, the beautiful costumes, and equally lovely cinematography. It appears this move is just more than Will Smith in blue makeup, allowing fans to breathe a sigh of relief.
Speaking of the Genie, he’s finally shown onscreen for more than a few seconds, allowing Will Smith show us his chops. There will never be a true replacement for Robin William’s Genie but Will Smith looks to be throwing himself into the role with gusto. Showcasing charm, wit, and a great deal of energy, the Genie looks plain fun and will likely steal the show, just as he did in the original animated film.
Other glimpses in the trailer include glimpses of the sinister Jafar, the magnificently designed Cave of Wonders, and of course, Mena Massaoud’s Aladdin himself. This live action adaptation looks to be a worthy successor to the original film and we can’t wait for the film to drop in just two months.
Penguin Young Readers have announced that she will be collaborating with illustrator Gianna Marino. The book is titled Don’t Let Them Disappear and is to be released on April 2nd. The book will feature a variety of animals like elephants, whales, tigers and many more and how to contribute to saving their lives.
When you think of great leaders in recent history, numerous names might come to mind. Obama, Mandela, Gandhi, and…Hitler? One Indian publisher thought so and is now facing the inevitable backlash, even after removing the book from its online store.
The children’s book, entitled Leaders (or Great Leaders according to the publisher’s website), was published in 2016 by Pegasus, an imprint of India’s B. Jain Publishing Group. According to The Guardian, it features biographies of eleven “amazing leaders” who “devoted their lives [to] the betterment of their country and people.” Hitler is one of six of these leaders to also be pictured on the cover.
Image Via The Quint
In an interview with the New York Times prior to the book’s removal, Annshu Juneja, Pegasus’s publishing director, explained, “We are not talking about his conduct or his views or whether he was a good leader or a bad leader but simply portraying how powerful he was as a leader.”
The book was finally removed after the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a human rights organization dedicated to “researching the Holocaust and hate in a historic and contemporary context,” protested the book, calling it an abomination. In a statement on the center’s website, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said, “The children of India deserve to learn the truth ultimate evil that Hitler and his genocidal Nazi ideology represented.”
Life is pretty sweet for the BOTUS (Bunny of the United States). He is the first bunny ever to ride Air Force Two. He has nearly 17,000 followers on Instagram. And now he is starring in a new children’s book.
Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of The Vice President is written by Charlotte Pence, daughter of Vice President Mike Pence, and illustrated by her mother Karen. It is narrated by Marlon and explains to children what the Vice President does at his job all day.
Image Via The Chicago Tribune
Charlotte Pence originally got Marlon when she was a student at DePaul University and needed a rabbit for a film project. According to The Washington Post, Pence’s roommate suggested they name him after Marlon Brando after discovering that he was a natural in front of the camera. Unable to resist a good pun, Pence named him Marlon Bundo, and thus a star was born.
With the exception of one Secret Service member, Marlon’s face is the only one that appears in the book. He will also be making several public appearances on the press tour to promote the book, which all of his adoring fans will surely appreciate.
Image Via Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post
The book is set to be released next week on March 19th. You can get it hereon Amazon. Proceeds will go to Tracy’s Kids, an art-therapy program at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, and A21, a nonprofit that aims to end sex trafficking.