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Keep Them Reading
An Anti-Censorship Handbook for Educators

ReLeah Cossett Lent and Gloria Pipkin
Foreword by Pat Scales
Language & Literacy
Pub Date: November 2012, 112 pages

Paperback: $26.95, ISBN: 0807753785
Cloth: $60.00, ISBN: 0807753882
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“The first academic freedom book of 2013 . . . an excellent one.”
—Read the article on the Huffington Post Education Blog

“There are no easy answers, but there are lessons to be learned from the ‘good fight’ of classroom teachers who have been victims of the censorship wars. . . . Keep Them Reading offers sage advice and guidance about what to do when the censor calls.”
—From the Foreword by Pat Scales, past president, ALSC American Library Association

“Sooner or later every reading and literature teacher will encounter someone who wants to limit students' experiences with a text Keep Them Reading lays out a very common-sense pro-active mechanism that is both respectful of parents and community values and students' and teachers' rights. Every teacher and administrator should read this handbook and then establish the processes that Lent and Pipkin recommend.”
Nancy G. Patterson, co-editor, Language Arts Journal of Michigan, Associate Professor, Literacy Studies, College of Education, Grand Valley State University

“The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who, at no small risk to themselves, refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
Bruce Coville, bestselling author

“The topic of this book—censorship—can strike fear in any educator's heart. So it is a delightful surprise that what seeps through these pages is love: love for the families whose concerns for their children, Pipkin and Lent remind us, are occasions for respectful engagement; and, above all, a deep love for books and the readers who are comforted, challenged, transported, and transformed by them.”
Maja Wilson, author of Rethinking Rubrics in Writing Assessmen

Keep Them Reading is a concise handbook for teachers, librarians, administrators, and district personnel about how to prevent censorship in a school or district—and what to do if it happens.  Written by two award-winning authors who have devoted much of their careers to anti-censorship work, this book discusses the overall importance of reading in all academic endeavors and demonstrates how challenges and censorship can derail even the best literacy program. 

Each chapter contains practical tools, advice, and resources for building understanding about issues of intellectual freedom and for creating a plan to help all parties work through challenges before they turn into damaging censorship incidents. The last chapter contains advice from authors who have dealt with censorship, such as Judy Blume, and experts on the subject, such as Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship.    

Book Features:

  • Procedures for dealing with censorship challenges before they arise.
  • Protocols to help teachers and librarians meet challenges and resist censorship.
  • Samples of actual letters teachers can use to defend their selection of a text.
  • Detailed suggestions for conducting meetings with parents and district personnel.
  • Helpful lists of books dealing with censorship, relevant court cases, and national organizations offering support and resources.
ReLeah Cossett Lent is a national consultant and the author of Literacy for Real: Reading, Thinking, and Learning in the Content Areas. Gloria Pipkin, a former teacher, has written extensively about censorship. Together, they were honored with intellectual freedom awards from the National Council of Teachers of English as well as the American Library Association.

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