Wednesday, February 18, 2009

BANNED TOGETHER: Canada's finest read the censors' favourites

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Freedom to Read Week, acclaimed Canadian authors, editors, and publishers are gathering in Toronto and Edmonton to read outrageously entertaining, informative, and thought-provoking books for young readers.

Recognizing that today's young readers are their future readers and storytellers, our country's top creators of books for grownups are joining their kidlit counterparts to send censors a powerful message: no one should stand between a growing reader and a good book.


Toronto:
Tuesday, February 24
7pm onwards!
Revival Bar
783 College Street, Toronto
$15, Tickets available at the door

* Renowned author Michael Winter reads Hold Fast, by fellow Newfoundlander Kevin Major. Canada's first novel for young adults and a multiple award winner, Hold Fast was banned by Canadian schools for containing foul language, sexual content and -- yikes! -- bad grammar.

* 2009 Canada Reads nominee Brian Francis and writer-provocateur Derek McCormack read from dog-eared copies of Judy Blume's touching and uncompromisingly honest coming-of-age novels. Five of Blume's books are among the 100 most challenged of all time.

* Benjamin Santamaria and Andrea Hila, from PEN Canada's Writers in Exile program, read contemporary stories challenged abroad for their social and political messages.

Tickets are tax deductible. Proceeds to support PEN Canada, an association of writers and supporters formed in 1926 to defend freedom of expression and raise awareness of that right, and IBBY Canada, the Canadian national section of the International Board on Books for Young People, which promotes cultural understanding through access to and the exchange of children's literature.

Edmonton:
Thursday, February 26
7 pm - 9:30pm
Grant MacEwan Conference Theatre
5-142 10700 - 104 Avenue, Edmonton
Admission is free of charge.

*Greg Hollingshead, Myrna Kostash, Linda Goyette, Todd Babiak, Jocelyne Verret, Caterina Edwards, Kuot Alith and Theresa Saffa will read from children's and young adult books that have been challenged. You might hear excerpts from Kevin Major's Hold Fast, which was banned for containing foul language, mild sexual content and - egad! - bad grammar; Dennis Lee's Lizzy's Lion, which is apparently too violent and promotes cannibalism; Gwen Molnar's I Said to Sam, which according to one principal had words like "exotic" and "elaborate" which were far too difficult for grade two students.

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