Library group: book titles targeted for banning tripled in 2021
WASHINGTON – The number of books people tried to ban from schools and libraries nearly tripled between 2019 and 2021, according to data from the American Library Association.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to 1,597 separate book titles in 2021. That’s up from 377 challenges to 566 book titles in 2019.
“It’s a situation that I’ve never witnessed in the two decades I’ve worked for the Office for Intellectual Freedom and a real change in the nature of the demands to censor books,” said Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the organization.
In 2021, the ten most commonly banned books according to the ALA were Gender Queer, Lawn-Boy, All Boys Aren’t Blue, Out of Darkness, The Hate U Give, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, The Bluest Eye, This Book is Gay and Beyond Magenta.
Most Banned Books By Year by Jonathan Hunter Donville
Book banning is not a new idea. In fact, Banned Books Week—which promotes book titles targeted over the decades—has been celebrated in libraries since 1982.
But the scope of efforts to ban books is new. Caldwell-Stone attributes the rise in book banning to advocacy groups calling for the removal of dozens of books at the same time.
“I want to clarify that it’s entirely appropriate for a parent to raise a concern about a book their student is reading and have discussions about that with librarians or teachers and even making a choice that the book isn’t the right book for their child or their student,” she said.
“But what we’re seeing now is advocacy groups going to school boards and library boards with a list of 10, 25 or even 50 books, demanding their removal all at once, often based on claims that the books are either inappropriate because they reference LGBTQ persons, or reflect the lives and experiences of Black persons or persons of color.”
Groups like Moms for Liberty and No Left Turn in Education have been vigorous advocates for book removal. The groups have ties to conservative groups and donors.
“Unfortunately, we have found that there is obscene graphic sexual content in books that are located in public school libraries across the United States of America,” said Tiffany Justice, co-founder of Moms for Liberty.
“American parents are very concerned about the fact that their children have access to pornography in school, that it’s being done under the supervision of adults who are okay with children having access to pornography in schools, and so we have gotten involved to ensure that school districts follow the law because apparently, they are unable to do that on their own,” she said.
Justice declined to enumerate books Moms for Liberty disapproves of.
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for a national organization to put out a list because we don’t want parents to think that every book is in every single library,” she said. “They need to go and do the work to find what books are in their libraries, and what books and what the laws and statutes are in their state.”
PEN America, a nonprofit that says it works to celebrate and defend free expression, identified at least 50 organizations pushing for book removals across the country.
“Previously, you might have somebody objecting to a particular book because of a particular slur or offensive statement, or representation or content with something people don’t like, but now we have this mass list of books or people going to databases and looking up with any book that has any LGBTQ content, or any book that touches on the history or contemporary commentary about racism,” said Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America. “We’re seeing an escalation of book banning, culminating in something that is really different from the banning we saw even five years ago.”
The book challenges have been effective: According to data from Northeastern University, 15 states have passed legislation banning certain books in K-12 education, often on the grounds that they contain elements of critical race theory. An additional 16 states have proposed similar legislation.
“That’s the distressing thing about this time,” Caldwell-Stone said. “We’re seeing elected officials adopt the rhetoric that books dealing with race, racism, and slavery are inappropriate for young people to read, or if they are available, can only reflect certain viewpoints—a certain view of history that the elected officials and the advocacy groups approve of. And we’re seeing elected officials also adopt the rhetoric that books dealing with gay, queer or transgender people are inappropriate for young people to read and demanding that such books be removed from schools and libraries.”
PEN America found that about half of challenged books are intended for young adult readers, including picture books for elementary schoolers.
Books like Heather Has Two Mommies, This Day in June — a picture book about Pride parades — and Anti-Racist Baby have all been challenged or banned. The organization also found that 41% of banned books “explicitly address LGBTQ+ themes or have protagonists or prominent secondary characters who are LGBTQ+.”
Justice says that the idea that the book challenge fight is about LGBTQ issues is a lie.
“We’ve been very clear about saying that parents being concerned about pornography in schools whether it’s with heterosexual couples, homosexual couples, heterosexual children, homosexual children, their sexual orientation isn’t the issue,” she said. “It’s the pornography. That’s the issue, and we need to be honest about that.”
Caldwell-Stone worries about this trend from both a legal and moral standpoint.
“We’re talking about public institutions, government-funded institutions, engaged in telling young people and telling families and telling adults what they can read and think about, which is repugnant to the First Amendment,” she said. “But also, it’s a matter of addressing the dignity and humanity of others who live in society and their right to find their lives and experiences. reflected in the collections of a public library or school library that their taxes support as well.”
“It’s having an impact on students, teachers, writers, publishers, and librarians, some of whom have been harassed or intimidated,” he said. “It’s highly concerning because if you start reducing the availability of books based on anything anyone might object to, you’re very quickly going to run out of any kind of library or classroom book to have available to young people.”
Caldwell-Stone said she anticipates the number of challenged books this year will be about the same or higher than last year.
“The end result is that books that do reflect the diversity of society, that reflect the lives of persons who attend that school or part of the community and that the public library serves, are being told that they don’t belong and that their stories don’t belong,” she said. “And I think that is the ultimate tragedy here.”
By KATE SELTZER
Capital News Service
Pickleball variants open sports to folks with limited mobility
The 21st century has already unveiled numerous history-changing inventions. The smartphone, the James Webb telescope, pickleball…wait, pickleball? Yup. Pickleball is disrupting sports, and just as importantly, it’s giving folks an activity even if their mobility is limited.
Tennis has long ranked among the most popular sports, with Wimbledon alone drawing in roughly 30 million viewers. But playing tennis is really hard. The ball moves so fast that most of us simply can’t keep up.
Pickleball is similar to tennis, but it has a smaller court, players use small solid paddles, and the ball is hard plastic. The ball moves more slowly and bounces less, so you don’t need cat-like reflexes. Since you don’t have to move as much on the court, pickleball is a good option for players in wheelchairs or who otherwise have limited mobility.
Further, by simply adding more players to the court, pickleball becomes even more accessible. Ultimately, the more players added, the more folks that can participate. That’s not just because more people are on the court. If you have limited mobility, more players mean you don’t have to move as far or as fast. You can fit six or more on the court quite easily, and the slower pace reduces the risks of collisions.
Pickleball can also easily be played in an indoor gym. This is great news for people who can’t cope with the summer heat or who sunburn easily. It’s also easy to set up glow-in-the-dark pickleball to escape the midday sun.
One study found that more than 35 million Americans played pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022.
Fly Fishing on the Shenandoah River 2023: Shenandoah Reel Women camps for young women
Become part of a growing group of unique young women! Shenandoah Reel Women (SRW) and the Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River (FNFSR) are pleased to announce the upcoming fly fishing camps made possible by the 2023 Virginia Wildlife Grant Program through a partnership between the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and the Wildlife Foundation of Virginia and awarded to FNFSR.
In these camps, young women will be mentored by established SRW members and volunteers. They will be introduced to the art of fly fishing, learning the basics of knot tying, the use of appropriate equipment, good casting techniques, river entomology and watershed conservation education. Rods, reels and necessary equipment will be available for participants’ use during the day camp and for additional summer fishing activities. Rods, reels and tool lanyards that are used by the participants of the overnight camps will become their property when they leave camp.
The day camp will be held at Seven Bends State Park in Woodstock, VA from June 27-29, and July 11-13, 9am to 3pm each day. The registration fee for these camps is $50. The overnight camps will be 5-day, 4- overnight camps at Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville, VA. Girls will arrive at camp at lunchtime on Sunday and depart late afternoon on Thursday. The dates for these camps are June 11-15 and July 23-27. The registration fee for these camps is $150. Scholarships are available. Registration for either of these camps can be made at fnfsr.org/srw2023.
For more information, please contact:
- Joan Chapman, Shenandoah Reel Women: 703-507-2276 or email@example.com
- Julia Sargent, Friends of the North Fork: 540-459-8550 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River was founded in 1988. Friends’ mission is to keep the North Fork of the Shenandoah River clean, healthy, and beautiful through advocacy, community action, education, and science. Since 2015, Friends of the North Fork has served as the Community-Support Organization for Seven Bends State Park. Through this role, Friends partners with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to help the community take advantage of increased river access and educational programming opportunities provided at the Park.
Seven Bends State Park was dedicated in 2005 and officially opened to the public in April 2020. Assistant Park Manager Thomas Stevens became the Park’s first full-time employee in late 2017. Ranger Stevens said, “The mission of Seven Bends State Park is to provide water and land based outdoor recreational and educational opportunities while protecting and interpreting the spectacular scenic viewshed and geological, natural and historical resources of the storied seven bends area. We are proud to be the host site of the Shenandoah Reel Women day camp as it aligns perfectly with our vision and purpose.”
Shenandoah River State Park opened in 1999 and has since served as a location for outdoor recreation as well as overnighting for folks from the area, NOVA, and Washington DC alike. Assistant Park Manager Kevin McDonald said “What an incredible opportunity to provide such an all-encompassing experience for young women. The ability to not only teach them valuable skills, but to do it in a start park setting and to share it with peers from all walks of life was a joy to be a part of.”
Two of the 2022 campers said: “It was so much fun to meet new people with the same interests as me. I think it was also very informational. We learned a lot about water conservation and the basics of fly fishing. I would definitely go back next year.” And “This was a great experience in not only fly fishing but in creating new friendships. The ladies at this camp are phenomenal and really help you understand the art of fly fishing. I would definitely recommend this camp.” From the parent of another 2022 camper: “My daughter has been so blessed to have women rally around her, pursuing a passion while teaching the next generation a skill. This is the idea – passing it down. In addition to that piece, being surrounded by a village of women – who are FOR women – is priceless. I am and will be eternally grateful for the vision and mission of SRW.” These girls are returning to the 2023 camps as peer mentors for both the day camp and overnight camps.
The Shenandoah Reel Women was founded in 2018 by three women who wanted to get out on the river fishing with other women. The idea of SRW was talked over, tossed about, and an idea took root. SRW has now grown to include women of all ages, from all corners of the state. The goal of SRW is to get more women and girls into the river to try their hand at fly fishing and, also, to engage in other outdoor pursuits like hiking, birding, tree and wildflower spotting, and nature photography.
4 steps to help you choose the right camp
Although there are still a few months left in the school year, it’s time to start thinking about where to send your child to camp on summer break. Follow these steps to choose a camp to make your child’s summer enjoyable and memorable.
1. Determine your needs
Would you prefer to enroll your child in a day or summer camp? Does your child need to be dropped only off for a few days, or must they be there for most of the summer? These two questions will help you narrow down the list of potential camps.
2. Talk to your child
Your child knows best what they want. For example, ask your child what activities they’d like to try this summer, like cooking, archery, and science experiments. The activities offered can vary greatly from camp to camp.
3. Narrow down your options
Research and identify camps that meet your needs and will appeal to your kids. Rule out camps that are too far away or don’t fit your budget. Don’t hesitate to contact the organizers for more information.
4. Ask your child to make the final decision
Unless only one camp meets your requirements and matches your child’s interests, make a list of possible choices. Invite your kid to make the final decision.
Don’t wait until the last minute to register your child for a camp. Spots fill up fast!
Why Self-awareness Is Essential For Any Entrepreneur Or Business Owner
Self-awareness is an essential aspect of every business owner’s life. While some people might think they are “self-aware,” they have little understanding of self-awareness. Many people have heard of “self-awareness” but do not understand what it means. If you are one of those people who don’t understand self-awareness, read on to better understand what it means.
Are you stuck in your ways? Do you lack the ability to change? Do you have the mindset that you can’t improve? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be time to take a step back and evaluate yourself.
It’s easy to focus on the negative and not see the positive in yourself. We often get so caught up in the day-to-day grind of life that we forget to look at the bigger picture. The biggest mistake you can make is not evaluating where you are, where you want to go, and what you need to do to get there.
You will have so much potential by taking a step back and evaluating yourself. You will also discover that you are capable of more than you ever thought possible.
Take Stock Of Your Potential
The world doesn’t always make sense to you, and that’s okay. You’re not alone; you don’t have to be there forever.
If you feel like you’re stuck in the middle, then that means that you’re on the right track. It would be best to find out where you are at this particular moment and understand where you want to go. Then, you need to figure out how to get there. You must identify what you want and ensure you have the tools. If you don’t, you’ll likely not achieve what you want.
You need to take stock of your capabilities and then use that to plan how you’ll get there. If you don’t, then you’re just wasting time and energy. You may be able to do much more than you realize, and you might be surprised at your capabilities and how far you can go. Many people have been through the same struggles as you and have succeeded in the long run.
Look at all the people ahead of you in your life, and see how they made it work. Study their lives and how they got to where they are today, and try to learn from them.
The idea of potential is excellent and applies to almost anything you do in life. You never know what you can do until you give it a shot. Successful people often keep a list of all the things they want to do before they turn a certain age, and they note all the things they are capable of achieving. You must take stock of what you can accomplish to improve your success rate. You need to think of some big dreams and goals and how you plan to make them come true.
This is important because once you’ve figured out what you can do and how you plan on accomplishing these things, then you’ll be able to make some informed decisions about how to go about reaching your potential.
You might want to think about the things you want to accomplish in life before you’re too old to do them and figure out how you’ll get there. Do you need a lot of training? Are you going to need to change careers to get to your goal?
These are all questions that you need to consider if you’re going to be able to achieve the things that you want to accomplish in life.
Double down On Your Expertise
Success is never about luck, and in fact, it’s usually about your hard work, determination, and mindset that allows you to succeed.
But if you don’t have the right mindset, it can hinder your chances of success. For example, you could be in the right place at the right time, but you’ll never be prepared if you’re not thinking about what will happen after that. That’s why you need to focus on your expertise and skills. You should also be looking forward to opportunities that will help you grow and develop in your chosen field.
Successful people have always realized this and have done well in life and business. They’ve had a plan and followed it, and that’s why they’ve been able to make a living doing what they love. If you want to become successful, you need to work on your own skills and learn how to improve your weaknesses to become an expert in your field.
Remove Your Weaknesses To Enhance Your Expertise
One thing that you’ll find when you start analyzing your personal life and how you’ve been living is that you’re not sure what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. You might even have specific areas of weakness in your life that you don’t even know you have. For instance, maybe you don’t have the best relationships, or perhaps you don’t have the best leadership skills.
Maybe you’re an overthinker or don’t care about much of anything. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.
Even though it might not be your strength, you need to address it. If you want to be a leader, you will need to be able to lead.
If you want to improve your relationships, you will need to learn how to have good conversations and listen to what other people say. You might need to know how to get along with other people and figure out ways to get along with them without being a jerk.
You might make bad decisions based on ignorance when you go through life. You should take time to analyze your situation and what you need to do to change that.
You need to stop trying to be someone you’re not and instead focus on being the kind of person you’d want to be around. It would be best to lead a positive life that will allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
You do that by improving on the areas of your life that you’re not as good at. You’ll be surprised that it’s not as complicated as you think. You’ll have to identify what you’re not good at and then improve on it. When you do, you’ll be surprised that your expertise improves daily.
It’s like taking a test that you’re going to get regularly. As you practice, you’re going to get better at it, and you’re going to be able to accomplish things that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. You might even end up in situations where you need to ask for help or even pay others to do things for you. That’s not a weakness; that’s a part of growing and learning.
Self-awareness Is The Foundation Of Success
Self-awareness is essential to any entrepreneur or business owner, so you should start working on it now. If you want to create your own business, you should know that self-awareness is the key to success. You need to understand your strengths and weaknesses to make the most out of yourself, especially when it comes to your business.
Self-awareness is essential to entrepreneurship.
Without it, you won’t be able to see the mistakes you make and how to improve. This is especially true regarding relationships, finances, and marketing. Without self-awareness, you’ll waste money and time, not to mention alienate people you’re trying to build relationships with. It will also make it harder for you to improve your skills because you’ll never be able to accurately evaluate where you’re lacking.
A business reflects the people that run it, so it’s essential to be aware of the areas you need to improve. This will allow you to develop strategies to overcome weaknesses and maximize your strengths.
The Cracked Acorn: Life
In John 14:6, Jesus says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.”
I mention the situation of Terri Schiavo. This medical case appeared to be headed to the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court. After 15 years in a persistent vegetative state (PVS), is it time to answer the plea of her husband to take her off life support and end her life? Many were for it, and many were against it. Is it possible that she could have gained consciousness and her health? It is a question that my 2 1/3 lb. brain ponders.
Karen Ann Quinlan – she collapsed into a PVS in April 1975. When life support was removed, she lived in a coma for ten more years – 1985. Nancy Cruzan – a 1983 car accident left her as a PVS. In Cruzan vs. Missouri, life support was removed, and she died in January 1991. Hollywood tries to touch on these situations – see CHARLEY, SOLENT GREEN, and the Eastwood movie – MILLION DOLLAR BABY. How does one leave this life with dignity? Do you have the answer?
Adam was created from the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7), and Eve from a rib. They ate the fruit in the Garden of Eden and were destined to live forever, but Satan intervened. Out of the garden, they were no longer eternally young. Cain kills Abel and death is on the scene for the first time. After that, we see that people of the Old Testament did live a long time, Methuselah the longest at 969 years. (Genesis 5:25) After every recorded name, their age is stated, and they die. The New Testament promises us threescore and ten, which could be longer.
We all hope that we will never have the “plug removed.” Cryogenics holds the hope that we can be frozen until a cure is found for what ails us. We are looking to the future. The military is researching a computer-driven robot that will map, then perform delicate and precise operations on wounded soldiers. The wounded can be completely healed and back on the battlefield within a few days. These discoveries will surely spill over into civilian life and add years to the population. Another possibility is that aging may eventually be slowed or stopped, all due to the unfolding mystery of cell research. Cells may soon be “triggered” to grow any part or organ of the body. Society lives with the false hope that our mortal bodies can achieve immortality here on earth. This will never happen. We will never return to the garden of Eden with the sin that holds us down. (Hebrews 12:1)
When Jesus said, “I have come, you may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). He was not talking about a home forever in this physical arena. Many today seek the Savior to return and reign here as King. While Jesus was here, He could have healed everyone that was sick and blind, and lame. He only did this for a few. He offered us something far better and more lasting than this body. God is a spirit, and we, His children, will have a new body. (Revelation 2:10)
THE END I KNOW IS NEARING, BY FAITH I LOOK AWAY, TO YONDER HOME SUPERPERNAL, THE LAND OF ENDLESS DAY; I’LL CLING TO HIM FOREVER AND LOOK BEYOND THE SKY, AND LIVE WITH HIM FOREVER IN GLORY BY AND BY. (Songs of FAITH and PRAISE)
Republican senator breaks with GOP to oppose 15-week abortion bill in Virginia
Despite backers characterizing Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s proposal to largely ban abortions after 15 weeks in Virginia as “a consensus” position, a Senate panel Friday rejected it, with one Republican joining unanimous Democratic opposition.
“I wish I could vote for this bill,” said Sen. Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, a practicing OB-GYN who proposed an amendment to the administration bill that would have allowed exceptions up to 24 weeks for fetuses with severe abnormalities. “But without that exception, I’m going to have to vote” against it.
The Friday morning votes on three bills that would have restricted to varying degrees Virginia’s current abortion laws were not binding: The Democrat-dominated Senate Health Professions Subcommittee only has the power to recommend legislative positions to the larger Health and Education Committee. But they signal little appetite among Democrats to brook any change to the state’s abortion laws, which allow the procedure through the first and second trimesters with few restrictions and permit it in the third if three doctors decide that continuing the pregnancy would pose a risk severe risk to the mother.
Dunnavant called that law “extreme,” arguing Virginia is out of step with laws across the U.S. and Europe as well as medical science on fetal age of viability. Under her Senate Bill 1483, abortion would remain legal up to “viability,” defined as 24 weeks or “at least 22” in the estimation of three doctors. Dunnavant’s bill would also require abortions to be performed only in hospitals, mirroring the current law on the second and third trimesters.
Abortion would also be allowed if the pregnancy was nonviable and going forward with it “would substantially and irremediably impair the physical health of the woman.”
From start to finish, 2023 will be a big year for abortion policy in Virginia
“The public opinion is in favor of not having an abortion in the third trimester,” Dunnavant said.
The two other Republican bills up for consideration Friday would go further. Sen. Steve Newman’s Senate Bill 1385 — the bill being backed by the Youngkin administration — would prohibit abortion after 15 weeks unless the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest or would result in the death of the mother “or substantially and irreversibly impair” her “bodily functions,” not including “psychological or emotional conditions.”
“We think we have what’s a carefully crafted bill that also supports mothers,” said Newman, who called the proposal a “middle ground” that provides “common-sense protection for the unborn.”
Sen. Travis Hackworth’s Senate Bill 1284, which he described as “a life at conception bill,” offered the most restrictive option, banning all abortion except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk or prior to 20 weeks if an official police report has been filed alleging rape or incest occurred.
“When Roe v. Wade was overturned, I knew this was the bill I had to put in,” he said. Pointing to unanimous support last year for legislation to impose stricter regulations on a controversial beagle breeding facility in Cumberland County that has since been shut down, he told the Senate panel, “I hope we can be as passionate in saving the lives of the unborn children as we were for the beagles last year.”
Witnesses turned out to argue both for and against the three measures, with supporters focusing on fetal pain and opponents contending the proposals would interfere with the patient-doctor relationship.
Several women pointed to their own experiences as instructive. One woman who identified herself as Molly said she had considered abortion but was glad she decided to continue with the pregnancy.
“When I took my pregnancy test, I could never have imagined all the wonderful support I’ve gotten,” she said.
Jessica Gertz, a Richmond doctor, told the Senate panel she had undergone an abortion at 21 weeks after finding out her fetus had severe abnormalities that could have left it unable to breathe or without a heartbeat after delivery.
“Make no mistake, the bans proposed today are aimed at people exactly like me,” she said.
Lawmakers on the subcommittee had a little discussion on the three measures before voting 6-3 to recommend that Hackworth’s and Newman’s bills be rejected by the larger committee and 5-4 to recommend the rejection of Dunnavant’s.
by Sarah Vogelsong, Virginia Mercury
Virginia Mercury is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Virginia Mercury maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sarah Vogelsong for questions: email@example.com. Follow Virginia Mercury on Facebook and Twitter.
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