Harry Potter to Help Raise Funds for ABFFE

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Limited edition button (above) and T-shirt (below) that urge people to "Fight for Harry Potter and Free Speech for Kids!"

On May 12, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) announced that Warner Brothers, the producer of the movies based on J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, has authorized ABFFE to issue a limited edition T-shirt and button that urge people to "Fight for Harry Potter and Free Speech for Kids!" Proceeds will support ABFFE's anti-censorship activities, which have included two successful efforts to overturn bans on Harry Potter books in school libraries.

"We are very grateful to Warner Brothers for the opportunity to offer a Harry Potter shirt and button that promote the freedom to read," said ABFFE President Chris Finan.

The Harry Potter books were the most challenged titles in the country from 1999 - 2002, according to the American Library Association. The protests have come mainly from people who contend that Rowling's Harry Potter tomes promote witchcraft. Last year, ABFFE filed an amicus brief supporting parents who eventually overturned a ban on the Potter books in an Arkansas school district.

In 2000, ABFFE helped organize a campaign in Michigan that persuaded a school superintendent to rescind most of the restrictions that he had imposed on the use of the Potter books in classrooms and school libraries. The efforts to ban the Potter books created enormous interest about censorship among kids. In response ABFFE created KidSPEAK!, www.kidspeakonline.org, a Web site that details the many challenges to their free speech rights.

The new T-shirt and button are based on the cover art for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and may be purchased individually or for resale. Individual T-shirts are $20; for quantities of 12 or more, the price is $10. Imprinting is available for $1 per shirt. A bag of buttons is $50. ABFFE members receive a discount. Orders may be placed electronically at the ABFFE Web site, www.abffe.com, and a downloadable, PDF format order form is available at www.abffe.com/HarrypotterOrderForm.pdf. Orders can also be placed by calling ABFFE at (212) 587-4025. The T-shirt and buttons will also be on sale during BookExpo America at the ABFFE booth, located in the north lobby of Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center.

The Warner Brothers' movie, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, is scheduled to open June 4.