barefootsong: stack of books with text "I read banned books" (banned books)
While browsing Banned Books Week posts around the internet, I found a meme (originally from Jo Knowles):

1. Go find your favorite banned book.
2. Take a picture of yourself with said book.
3. Give that book some love by explaining why you think it is an important book.
4. Post it to your blog.
5. Spread the word!

Happy Banned Books Week!

I was about a month into my first library job when my supervisor plopped a picture book on the desk and inquired if I had read it yet. I was working as a part-time library assistant in the youth services department of a public library and the book the children's librarian handed me was And Tango Makes Three.

I read it. I loved it. Although my children's lit professor would cringe to hear me say it, the illustrations really are cute. (I dare you to look upon wee Tango and not smile at her adorable fuzziness.) To appease my professor (who really did teach me better), I'll add that the story and illustrations are equally charming and work well together to convey a story about a family that's "a little bit different" but no less loving than other families.

This book changed my life. It changed how I see and interact with the world.

Growing up, I was aware of homosexuality and censorship, but neither affected me directly so I didn't give either issue much thought. My parents are wonderful, open-minded people who let me do my own thinking and never told me that any way of loving was more or less acceptable than any other. I have always believed that people have a right to live their own lives—a right to choose who they love and what they read—but in my own world that was a given.

Then I met Tango.

And when I finished reading that book, so sweet and happy, I went straight to Amazon to look up the reviews, knowing there would be bad ones. It turned out there was only one bad review, since Tango had only been published a few months before. But that single bad review has stuck in my mind ever since. The scathing review indicated that this book was pushing a homosexual agenda by promoting tolerance of alternative lifestyles. The fact that someone could think promoting tolerance was a bad thing shocked and horrified me.

Reading Tango and that one bad review on Amazon brought censorship and lgbt rights to life for me. Once intangible problems, And Tango Makes Three made these into issues for me.

Everyone has the right to choose who they love and what they read.

No one has the right to tell others who they can or cannot love or marry. No one has the right to tell others what they can or cannot read.

Further reading )

barefootsong: stack of books with text "I read banned books" (banned books)
This week is Banned Books Week in the U.S., in which we celebrate our freedom to read what we want. Books are banned and challenged all the time—a challenge means someone wants a book to be removed from a library; a ban means a book has been removed. You can find many lists of banned and/or challenged books and their reasons via a simple Google search. This week, I wish to highlight a recent challenge to Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak because it's an important book, it ties in with the themes of yesterday's post, and it's Banned Books Week (though I like to live every week as if it's Banned Books Week; bans and challenges don't just happen one week out of the year). (Note: trigger warning for discussion of sexual assault, though there are no graphic descriptions.)

SPEAKing up for women )

Read. SPEAK. Listen. It's not a happy topic, but spreading awareness and speaking up about difficult things is the only way to stop the violence.

Further Reading )

barefootsong: Many stars and galaxies. (across the universe)
  1. A moment Two years in time: I was fascinated by [this post] at the indicommons blog showing how cartography changed in a two-year span in the 1980s. Life-altering changes used to take decades or longer, but now they can happen almost in the blink of an eye. It's amazing to actually see many such differences within my own lifetime, but it's also kind of dizzying sometimes.
  2. Written on the page screen: Speaking of dramatic changes, one of the changes we're living through right now is the advent of digital reading technologies. I will always prefer a real book's physicality, but at the same time, I can see the benefits of doing some of my reading on an e-reader. And I really cannot help being amazed by [these images] of Kindle and iPad screens under extreme magnification, with magnified print media sources for comparison further down. Kindle's eInk technology really does emulate paper. I'm rather tempted, but it's still not quite everything I want in an e-reader yet....
  3. Words, words, words: Language is another thing that changes—sometimes dramatically—over time. [Highlights] from the latest batch of words, phrases, and meanings added to the Oxford English Dictionary from the OUP(US) blog. Some of my favorite inclusions are steampunk, vuvuzela, and "what's not to like?" (which I just used a few hours ago). I heart the OED. :)
  4. A sky full of wonder: Check out this [breathtaking panorama] of the aurora borealis above Prelude Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories. It makes me think of Philip Pullman's Northern Lights/The Golden Compass. Someday, I'm determined to see the aurora in person. That's number 3 or 4 on my list of Things To Do Before I Die.
  5. A change of seasons: Autumn is my very favorite time of the year. Beautiful trees, gorgeous skies, the lovely playfulness of sunlight and shadows ... and Banned Books Week (25 September to 2 October this year). More posts on autumn and BBW to come!
barefootsong: Lots of books. (books)
Another library poem for the end of National Library Week.

'He ate and drank the precious words' by Emily Dickinson )

About the girl

The random musings of a librarian with a passion for reading (duh), a vast curiosity about the world, and a penchant for noticing things most people don't (like the way sunlight falls through the leaves on a tree).


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