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Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
Hello, and welcome to my blog! I like to write about children's literature, fandom studies, video games, feminism, and pop culture in general. I've recently earned my Ph.D. in children's literature ( Fall 2012) at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I also teach English (composition, British literature, and women's literature) at Sowela Technical Community College. Oh, and I like cats! [Banner image artwork by Yuki Midorikawa]

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

When Authors Attack -- the politics of children's literature

Today, word came through the Twitterverse that author Jane Yolen was not at all pleased when pro-Tea Party and anti-library senator Ron Johnson opted to read her book How Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Rooms? to an unsuspecting group of children. And I use the word "unsuspecting" in the sense that these children and their parents (and their surrounding community) probably have no idea that their beloved library is constantly on the verge of closing in these dire economic times.
When she learned of the senator's book choice, Yolen reportedly responded:
I wish he would help kids and not cut those programs that help them, rather than just reading a book chosen for him, and written by a progressive Massachusetts liberal like me.
You get 'im, Jane.
Check out the Daily Kos piece about the row between senator and award-winning author here: Jane Yolen Under Attack. And, in case you're curious, find out what more Yolen had to say on the subject in this article by Shawn Doherty.
This is obviously an issue close to Yolen's heart (as it is to us all, no doubt). This past May she penned another little note, this time to the Los Angeles Unified School District: LINK.
This is a year when U.S. schools have already banned 20 books from their libraries. Jane Yolen, Philip Pullman, et al. notwithstanding, how much does this country truly care about its libraries? As the spokesperson for the LA school district superintendent responded, "There is not an area in the school district that has not been cut."
This is not a political blog. But when politics worms its way into the world of children's literature in such a dastardly and despicable way, how can we ignore it? And what, if anything, can be done about it?

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