Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Banning in Canada
Children's author, Deborah Ellis, writer of novels such as Looking for X, winner of a Governor General's Award for Children's Literature, the accaimed Breadwinner series, and The Heaven Shop which tackles the subject of the AIDS crisis has come under attack by the York District School Board. Three Wishes is a hard-hitting reflection of life which profiles the lives of Israeli and Palestinian children and the pervasive hatred that fills their formative years.
Under pressure from the Canadian Jewish Congress, the York District School Board has removed Three Wishes from their Silver Birch Award list. The Silver Birch is an award for which children from grades 4 - 6 vote their favourite from a list of 20 nominations. Librarians choose these books. The book was not on the curriculum. It was on a list of suggested reading for the Silver Birch.
The Canadian Jewish Congress is pressuring other school boards to follow suit. The Toronto District School Board is keeping the book behind the counter in the library (shades of the past back to haunt us) and parents are required to bring a note from their parents in order to borrow the book.
Ellis says of the stories in the book, "Some are disturbing, even shocking. But they reflect the world these children live in."
What is it that the people who are keeping books behind the counter or off of reading lists think they are protecting the children from?