ABFFE to Feature Alexie, Anderson, and Kaplan at Wi8

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Sherman Alexie and Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling authors and passionate defenders of the freedom to read, will be at Winter Institute 8 to discuss efforts to ban their books and other young adult works that some people claim are too “dark” for children. The program, “Banned Books, Censorship and YA Literature,” will be held on Monday, February 25, from 10:30 to 11:45 a.m. and is sponsored by the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE). Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Florida’s Books and Books and a member of the ABFFE board, will join the authors.

“We are very excited to be able to present three champions of free speech to discuss the almost daily attempts to deprive kids of books that they both want and need,” said ABFFE President Chris Finan, the panel’s moderator.

Hundreds of books are challenged in the United States every year because people claim their content is too sexual, violent, or otherwise offensive. Wall Street Journal book critic Megan Cox Gurdon has condemned YA literature as “a hall of fun-house mirrors, constantly reflecting back hideously distorted portrayals of what life is.”

Alexie and Anderson have both faced challenges to their books. Alexie’s Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian has been one of the 10 most challenged books for the last two years. Anderson’s Speak, which deals with the problem of sexual assault, was attacked as “soft-core pornography” in Republic, Missouri.

Both authors have challenged the critics of YA literature.  “Books don’t turn kids into murderers, or rapists, or alcoholics,” Anderson has written. “Books open hearts and minds, and help teenagers make sense of a dark and confusing world.”

In addition to the Winter Institute panel, ABFFE will conduct a silent auction of original children’s book art produced by leading artists and illustrators working in the industry today. The auction of 25 works will be held at the Westin Hotel on Sunday, February 24, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Century Foyer, just outside the Wi8 Author Reception. The auction can be previewed online here. There will also be an onsite preview during the day on Sunday in the Garden Terrace.

For more information, contact ABFFE.