"parents who would tell their children not to read playboy 'don't really care about their kids growing up and learning to think and explore.'"
9/18/95 citizen, quoting judith krug,
ala director of oif.
link/legal notice.

effects of ala policy:  list of crimes and filters in libraries and schools; please help an 8 year old library crime victim.

apa online - click for sexualization report
another effect is the sexualization of children.  see:  report of the apa task force on the sexualization of girls
please donate $1 now.





porn pushers -
the ala and looking for alaska -
one example of how the ala pushes porn on children

by
www.safelibraries.org
27 march 2006 (minor edits 29 mar 2006; new sections 18 dec 2006, 18 feb 2007, 28 apr 2007, 6 feb 2008)
source url:  http://www.safelibraries.org/pushers.htm
feel free to use to the benefit of children as long as a link is made back here - example usage.
safelibraries. org - are children safe in public libraries?

looking for alaska new covertable of contents

who are "young adults"?

"young adults," are defined by the ala as "ages 12 - 18."  in orwellian fashion, pre-teens have skipped over their teenage years and become adults.  at least that's what the ala would have us believe.

what's going on in "young adult" literature?

    recent trends

    so-called "young adult" [ya] literature has, in recent years, taken a turn toward material inappropriate for children.  here is evidence of this from a scholarly source:

          the subject matter of a ya book is different depending on whether the book is intended for a thirteen-year-old or a seventeen-year-old.  despite intended age determinations for these books, liberals and conservatives continue to battle over the age appropriateness of subjects such as relationships, sex, drugs, and death.  judy blume, an author of books for young readers, caused a scandal in 1975 with forever (1975), which is commonly considered the first ya book to deal with teen love and teen pregnancy.  although bradbury press infuriated blume by advertising the book as blume's first adult book, forever is a young adult novel; it soon made its way into the teen audience (foerstal 107).  sharyn november, senior editor at puffin and viking children's books, said "gatekeepers often underestimate what teens can handle.  [teens] know a lot.  they self-censor when they read--they skip over what they don't understand and focus on what makes sense to them at that point in their lives" (qtd. in maughan, "making").
          young adult publishers are journeying into new and potentially dangerous subjects.  one ya editor notes, "as more and more edgy fiction is being published, the books are dealing with issues that hadn't been dealt with before:  oral sex, male rape, incestthere seem to be no boundaries any more" (qtd. in milliot et al. 39).  in 2004, bookstores were filled with ya books that addressed edgy subjects:  cynthia voigt's when she hollers (1994) and laurie halse anderson's speak (rape) (1999); sarah dessen's dreamland (2000) and alex flinn's breathing underwater (2001) (emotionally, mentally, and physically abusive relationships); patricia mccormick's cut (2001), shelley stoehr's crosses (1991), and alice hoffman's green angel (2003) (self-mutilation); margaret bechard's hanging on to max (2002) and angela johnson's the first part last (2003) (teen fatherhood); and linda glovach's beauty queen (1998) (most of the aforementioned issues as well as teenage exotic dancing, threesomes, and heroin addiction).  amazon.com enables teens to find particular issue books by clicking on "teen books," then "social issues," which provides headings such as "dating and intimacy," "drug use and abuse," "pregnancy," "suicide," and "violence."  a search box allows users to enter one's own issue.  young adult literature has broken nearly every boundary of acceptable subject matter in trying to address real-life problems and intrigue teen readers.
    source:  judging a book by its cover:  publishing trends in young adult literature, cat yampbell, the lion and the unicorn; sep 2005; 29:3; children's module, the johns hopkins university press, pp348-372, at p350-351, emphasis added.

    works cited:
    • foerstal, herbert n.  banned in the u.s.a.:  a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries.  westport:  greenwood, 1994.
    • maughan, shannon.  "making the teen scene."  publishers weekly 18 oct. 1999.  28-31.  library literature & information science full text.  wilsonweb journal directory.  wayne state u library, detroit.  25 aug. 2003.
    • milliot, jim, john mutter, john f. baker, diane roback, and edward nawotka.  "new answers to old questions."  publishers weekly.  26 may 2003:  35-39.

    feminists are "in for a surprise"

    naomi wolf, feminist author and social critic.more evidence of a turn toward material inappropriate for children in ya literature comes even from a leading feminist, one of the left's leading lights, naomi wolf.  naomi wolf is the person who advised presidential candidate albert gore on how to dress like and be the "alpha male."  yet even she is sickened by recent trends in "young adult" literature.  from her article, "young adult fiction:  wild things," 12 mar. 2006, the new york times, emphasis added, we can see her thinking:

    these books look cute.  they come in matched paperback sets with catchy titles, and stay for weeks on the children's books best-seller list.  ....  yet if [a] parent opened one, he or she might be in for a surprise.  the "gossip girl," "a-list" and "clique" series � the most successful in a crowded field of au pairs, it girls and other copycat series � represent a new kind of young adult fiction, and feature a different kind of heroine.  in these novels, which have dominated the field of popular girls' fiction in recent years, carol gilligan's question about whether girls can have "a different voice" has been answered � in a scary way.
    [s]ex saturates the "gossip girl" books, by cecily von ziegesar, which are about 17- and 18-year-old private school girls in manhattan.  this is not the frank sexual exploration found in a judy blume novel, but teenage sexuality via juicy couture, blas� and entirely commodified.  in "nothing can keep us together," nate has sex with serena in a bergdorf's dressing room:  "nate was practically bursting as he followed serena. . . .  he grabbed her camisole and yanked it away from her body, ripping it entirely in half. . . .  'remember when we were in the tub at my house, the summer before 10th grade?' . . . 'yes!' 'oh, yes!' . . . nate began to cry as soon as it was over.  the viagra had worn off just in time."
    the "a-list" novels, by zoey dean ..., are spinoffs of the "gossip girl" series.  now we're on the west coast, among a group of seniors from beverly hills high.  here is anna, in las vegas for the weekend with her posse:  "was there any bliss quite like the first five minutes in a hot tub?  well, yes, actually.  ben.  sex with ben had been that kind of bliss. . . .  would sex with scott offer that kind of bliss?" her best friend, cyn, also has feelings for scott:  "she'd shed a lot of her usual wild-child ways as soon as they'd hooked up.  no more stealing guys with wedding rings away from their wives just because she could.  . . . no more getting wasted at parties and dirty dancing with handsome waiters . . . .  no more taking e," or ecstasy, at nightclubs.
    but anything can get old eventually. cyn offers anna this world-weary romantic guidance:  "we used to jump each other, like, three times a night.  when we went out to the movies, we'd sit by a wall and do it during the boring parts."  she recommends "semi-sex" � not oral sex, because "that is so over" � behind a statue at moma.  ....
    and while the tacky sex scenes in them are annoying, they aren't really the problem.  the problem is a value system in which meanness rules, parents check out, conformity is everything and stressed-out adult values are presumed to be meaningful to teenagers.  the books have a kitsch quality � they package corruption with a cute overlay. ....
    the great reads of adolescence have classically been critiques of the corrupt or banal adult world.  it's sad if the point of reading for many girls now is no longer to take the adult world apart but to squeeze into it all the more compliantly.  sex and shopping take their places on a barren stage, as though, even for teenagers, these are the only dramas left.
    added 7 apr 2006:  for more on this and on naomi wolf's article, see page burners:  sex and the teenage girl; what goes on between the covers is now what goes on between the covers of new fiction aimed at young adults, by tania padgett, newsday, 4 apr 2006.

    even other children's book authors decry the "drastic fall from grace"

    book by barbara feinberg.  click for link to related article.even children's book authors have become disgusted with recent trends in children's books, and the books have invaded school libraries and school curricula as well.  according to laura miller, "why teachers love depressing books," barbara feinberg, author of "welcome to lizard motel:  children, stories, and the mystery of making things up" (beacon press), found her 12-year-old son alex "steel himself, again and again, for the joyless task of completing the assigned reading for his 'language arts' class...."  "her curiosity plunges feinberg into the contemporary genre of young adult (y.a.) 'problem novels,' the bane of her son's existence."

    "teachers love them," the local librarian explains as feinberg scans a shelf of such titles.  "they win all the awards."
    most of the books chosen by the english committee at alex's school are problem novels, and the curriculum proves inflexible.  "we can't ever say we don't like the books," alex tells his mother, because, according to his teacher, "if you're not liking the books, you're not reading them closely enough."  the books are so depressing -- "'everybody dies in them,' he told me wearily" -- alex insists on reading with his bedroom door open.  ....
    [feinberg] sees the memoirlike problem novels as symptoms of "the drastic fall from grace that the imagination has suffered in popular understanding" and her generation's insistence on "making our children wake from the dream of their childhoods."  adults, she suspects, secretly resent the sheltered, enchanted world children inhabit and under the pretext of preparing them for life's inevitable difficulties, want to rub their noses in traumas they may never actually experience and often aren't yet able to comprehend.  all the better to turn them into miniature grown-ups, little troupers girded to face a world where they have no one to count on but themselves.  ....
    problem novels represent just a fraction of the y.a. market, but one particularly esteemed by educators and prize committees.  (newbery medal winners are notoriously glum.)  that, daniel handler, author of the best-selling lemony snicket series, told me recently in an interview, results from a "wrong-headed belief that the more misery there is, the more quality there is, that the most lurid, unvarnished stories are closest to the truth."
    source:  laura miller, "why teachers love depressing books," the new york times book review, august 22, 2004 p12(l) col 01, emphasis added.
added 7 may 2006:

a conservative's point of view:  "filling minds with rot"

rebecca hagelin, author of home invasion....having seen how one side of the political spectrum describes the recent trend in ya literature, let us now look at another side.  this will be the view of rebecca hagelin.  notice there is very little difference in the gist of the words of leaders of the left and of the right side of the political spectrum.

quoting now from an excellent article summarizing the constant assault of children by the porn culture being partly the parents' fault for failure to act to protect children, "taking back our homes," by rebecca hagelin, april 2006, emphasis added:

gossip girls is one of the most popular romance series for girls ages 12-16.  published by simon and schuster, recurring themes are incest and graphic sex among children.  what about some of the books our kids are reading for school-assigned reports?  when i was researching home invasion, i decided to thumb through a few books from a list of those recommended by the american library association for ages 12-14.  good teachers, well-meaning teachers, hand out such lists at the end of every school year-i'm sure you're familiar with the "summer reading list" concept.  after that, good moms everywhere drive their kids to the library and say, "honey, go pick out a few books to read this summer and get started right away on that report.  go up to your bedroom and read if you're bored, because i don't want to hear you complaining that you have nothing to do."  well, i pulled a few novels off the shelves and what i found disgusted me.  one described a sexual encounter between fourth graders.  another was written from the perspective of a 14-year-old boy who describes, in detail, watching his first homosexual encounter.  in one book, you only need to get to page four for the first of many uses of the term "motherf---in."  so moms and dads should know that sometimes when susie is upstairs being a good little girl reading her book, her mind is being filled with rot.
added 17 apr 2006:

the ala encourages a further "drastic fall from grace" by recommending "books for young adults who enjoy 'gossip girl' series"!

pam spencer holley of the ala and 2005-2006 president of yalsa.instead of retrenching to consider its actions in light of articles like the one by naomi wolf shown above, the ala instead charges full steam ahead to ensure even more children are exposed to such material and even more authors are encouraged to write such books.

the young adult library services association (yalsa), the fastest growing division of the american library association (ala), has announced a list of books to recommend to teens, both avid and reluctant readers, who are looking for books like cecily von ziegesar's "gossip girl" series.
"the books on this list are perfect for when your readers have finished with every "gossip girl" title in your library and are clamoring for another book like the gossip girl," said yalsa president pam spencer holley.

source:  "yalsa recommends books for young adults who enjoy 'gossip girl' series," ala press release, 11 apr 2006.

the press release goes on to say, "for nearly 50 years yalsa has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audiobooks for teens."  fine.  but why not also reveal that at a certain point along that timeline yalsa started recommending sexually inappropriate books for children, accompanied by glowing reviews that intentionally hide such inappropriate material?  this is another example why the ala should no longer be considered authoritative when it comes to the recommendation of children's books.  here's another:

"pam spencer holley of the [ala and leader of yalsa for youth, said] ... [s]he's happy to see teen girls reading.  eventually, girls who are reading gossip girls will move on to better books, she says.  'unless you read stuff that's perhaps not the most literary, you'll never understand what good works are,' says holley.  ....  besides, she says, what's the worst thing that can happen?  'nobody complains about the adult women who read harlequin romances.'"  source:  racy reading; gossip girl series is latest installment in provocative teen fiction, and it's as popular as it is controversial, by linda shrieves, 6 aug 2005.

the ala is implicitly admitting that it compiles lists of books that are both sexually inappropriate and "not the most literary" as well.  this is an authoritative source for book selections?

looking for alaska

looking for alaska cover.speaking of sex taking place on a barren stage, along comes a book called "looking for alaska" by john green.  the book is very well written, but one is left with the impression that reading a book about kids gone wild with porn, sex, drugs, alcohol, and death at a boarding school was time that could have been better spent elsewhere.  naomi wolf and barbara feinberg are right.

despite the barren stage, however, it keeps getting recommended.  why?  a companion piece ran with the naomi wolf's article in the new york times.  it was called "what's a girl to read?" by justine henning.  she says, "if you don't want to read about sex and drugs -- or don't want your kids reading about them -- young adult fiction can look like a minefield.  [b]e forewarned that if the rating is 'young adult' or '14 and up,' that often means sexual content."  she then goes on to recommend "looking for alaska," saying only:

when miles halter goes away to boarding school in alabama, he makes his first real friends and falls for a beautiful and troubled girl named alaska.  much of the novel is a countdown to a tragedy; afterward, miles and his friends try to make sense of it.  (ages 14 and up)."

so after decrying sexually inappropriate material, justine henning recommends--drumroll please--sexually inappropriate material, and the new york times is along for the ride.  well at least her age cut off is 14; soon we will see the ala's age cut off is 12, as in 12 year olds get to read sexually inappropriate material, but not 11 years olds.  now, let's just see what "looking for alaska" is all about.

    language:

      here are words and phrases from "looking for alaska" most people, except ala librarians, think are inappropriate for 12 year olds.  the numbers represent the number of occurrences of such words, phrases, or variants.  the grand total of 281 occurrences out of 216 pages with print yields 1.3 occurrences per page.  no attempt was made to count religious vulgarities, but they were numerous as well.

    • ass, asshole, bad ass:  28; bastard:  7; blow job, oral sex, ham smoked, orgasm, suck, went down on, fellatio:  11; bitch:  13; breasts, boobs:  12; butt:  7; fart:  1; fuck, fucker, fuck you, motherfucker:  34; hell, holy hell:  21; masturbation:  1; miscellaneous (nude, suicide, condoms, puke, hung myself, male stripper, weed, marijuana, deviant sexuality, [religiously offensive terms], sex toys):  uncounted; penis, balls, dick, hard on, erection, hung like a horse, prick:  12; porn:  9; piss, pissed, pee:  27; sex:  28; slept with, hooked up, lost virginity, making out, get laid, genital contact, screw, doing it:  21; shit, bullshit, shitfaced:  49; vagina:  1;
    • grand total:  281; pages containing text:  216; inappropriate words per page:  1.3.
    • amazon has listed "shit" with 49 occurrences as one of the top 100 words used most frequently in the book. what a coincidence.

    actual quotes from the book:

    • pages 130-131:
           alaska started.  "truth or dare, pudge."
           "dare."
           "hook up with me."
           so i did.
      it was that quick.  i laughed, looked nervous, and she leaned in and tilted her head to the side, and we were kissing.  zero layers between us.  our tongues dancing back and forth in each other's mouth until there was no her mouth and my mouth but only our mouths intertwined.  she tasted like cigarettes and mountain dew and wine and chap stick.  her hand came to my face and i felt her soft fingers tracing the line of my jaw.  we lay down as we kissed, she on top of me, and i began to move beneath her.  i pulled away for a moment, to say, "what is going on here?" and she put one finger to her lips and we kissed again.  a hand grabbed one of mine and she placed it on her stomach.  i moved slowly on top of her and felt her arching her back fluidly beneath me.
           i pulled away again.  "what about lara?  jake?"  again, she sshed me.  "less tongue, more lips," she said, and i tried my best.  i thought the tongue was the whole point, but she was the expert.
           "christ," the colonel said quite loudly. "that wretched beast, drama, draws nigh."
           but we paid no attention. she moved my hand from her waist to her breast, and i felt cautiously, my fingers moving slowly under her shirt but over her bra, tracing the outline of her breasts and then cupping one in my hand, squeezing softly. "you're good at that," she whispered. her lips never left mine as she spoke. we moved together, my body between her legs.
           "this is so much fun," she whispered, "but i'm so sleepy. to be continued?" she kissed me for another moment my mouth straining to stay near hers, and then she moved from beneath me, placed her head on my chest, and fell asleep instantly.
           we didn't have sex. we never got naked. i never touched her bare breast, and her hands never got lower than my hips. it didn't matter. as she slept, i whispered, "i love you, alaska young."
           just as i was falling asleep, the colonel spoke. "dude, did you just make out with alaska?"
           "yeah."
    • pages 126 - 128:
           just as the bradys were getting locked in jail, lara randomly asked me, "have you ever gotten a blow job?"
           "um, that's out of the blue," i said.
           "the blue?"
           "like, you know, out of left field."
           "left field?"
           "like, in baseball. like, out of nowhere. i mean, what made you think of that?"
           "i've just never geeven one," she answered, her little voice dripping with seductiveness. it was so brazen. i thought i would explode. i never thought. i mean, from alaska, hearing that stuff was one thing. but to hear her sweet little romanian voice go so sexy all of a sudden . . .
           "no," i said. "i never have."
           "think it would be fun?"
           do i!?!?!?!?!?!?! "um. yeah. i mean, you don't have to."
           "i think i want to," she said, and we kissed a little, and then. and then with me sitting watching the brady bunch, watching marcia marcia marcia up to her brady antics, lara unbuttoned my pants and pulled my boxers down a little and pulled out my penis.
           "wow," she said.
           "what?"
           she looked up at me, but didn't move, her face nanometers away from my penis. "it's weird."
           what do you mean by "weird?"
           "just beeg, i guess."
           i could live with that kind of weird. and then she wrapped her hand around it and put it into her mouth.
           and waited.
           we were both very still. she did not move a muscle in her body, and i did not move a muscle in mine. i knew that at this point something else was supposed to happen, but i wasn't quite sure what.
           she stayed still. i could feel her nervous breath. for minutes, for as long as it took the bradys to steal the key and unlock themselves from the ghost-town jail, she lay there, stock-still with my penis in her mouth, and i sat there, waiting.
           and then she took it out of her mouth and looked up at me quizzically.
      "should i do sometheeng?"
           "um. i don't know," i said. everything i'd learned from watching porn with alaska suddenly exited my brain. i thought maybe she should move her head up and down, but wouldn't that choke her? so i just stayed quiet.
           "should i, like, bite?"
           "don't bite! i mean, i don't think. i think--i mean, that felt good. that was nice. i don't know if there's something else."
           "i mean, you deedn't--"
           "um. maybe we should ask alaska."
           so we went to her room and asked alaska. she laughed and laughed. sitting on her bed, she laughed until she cried. she walked into the bathroom, returned with a tube of toothpaste, and showed us. in detail. never have i so wanted to be crest complete.
           lara and i went back to her room, where she did exactly what alaska told her to do, and i did exactly what alaska said i would do, which was die a hundred little ecstatic deaths, my fists clenched, my body shaking. it was my first orgasm with a girl, and afterward i was embarrassed and nervous, and so, clearly, was lara, who finally broke the silence by asking, "so, want to do some homework?"
    • pages 87-88:
           and we found plenty of porn magazines haphazardly stuffed in between mattresses and box springs. it turns out that hank walsten did like something other than basketball and pot: he liked juggs. but we didn't find a movie until room 32, occupied by a couple of guys from mississippi named joe and marcus. they were in our religion class and sometimes sat with the colonel and me at lunch, but i didn't know them well.
           alaska read the sticker on the top of the video. "the bitches of madison county. well. ain't that just delightful."
           we ran with it to the tv room, closed the blinds, locked the door, and watched the movie. it opened with a woman standing on a bridge with her legs spread while a guy knelt in front of her, giving her oral sex. no time for dialogue, i suppose. by the time they started doing it, alaska commenced with her righteous indignation. "they just don't make sex look fun for women. the girl is just an object. look! look at that!"
           i was already looking, needless to say. a woman crouched on her hands and knees while a guy knelt behind her. she kept saying "give it to me" and moaning, and though her eyes, brown and blank, betrayed her lack of interest, i couldn't help but take mental notes. hands on her shoulders, i noted. fast, but not too fast or it's going to be over, fast. keep your grunting to a minimum.
           as if reading my mind, she said, "[g-d], pudge. never do it that hard. that would hurt. that looks like torture. and all she can do is just sit there and take it? this is not a man and a woman. it's a penis and a vagina. what's erotic about that? where's the kissing?"
           "given their position, i don't think they can kiss right now," i noted.
           "that's my point. just by virtue of how they're doing it, it's objectification. he can't even see her face! this is what can happen to women, pudge. that woman is someone's daughter. this is what you make us do for money."
           "well, not me," i said defensively. "i mean, not technically. i don't, like, produce porn movies."
           "look me in the eye and tell me this doesn't turn you on, pudge."
           i couldn't. she laughed. it was fine, she said. healthy. and then she got up, stopped the tape, lay down on her stomach across the couch, and mumbled something.
           "what did you say?" i asked, walking to her, putting my hand on the small of her back.
           "shhhh," she said. "i'm sleeping."
           just like that. from a hundred miles an hour to asleep in a nanosecond. i wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. not fuck, like in those movies. not even have sex. just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. but i lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and i was gawky and she was gorgeous and i was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. so i walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, i was drizzle and she was hurricane.
           
    added 14 apr 2006:  here is a link to more of the language from the book, courtesy of pabbis, parents against bad books in schools.

    "looking for alaska" author john green:

    john green, author, signing copies of looking for alaska.  click for larger view.added 14 apr 2006:  author john green would not let his own 12 year old, if he had one, read his own book, but the ala would!  he also says the book is never marketed to children, further evidencing that it is the ala is doing the marketing of the book to children!  the book, he says, is never shelved in bookstore children's section, but we show below pictures of the book on library shelves right next to star trek novels!  he incorrectly implies the ala does not want 12 year olds to access the book despite the ala awarding the book its top award for children 12 and up.  but who could blame anyone for thinking pushing sexually inappropriate books on children isn't being done, especially by the venerable ala.
    1.  i'm with mary.  i have no problem with a parent reading my book and saying, "nah, i don't want my child reading this.   that's fine.  in fact, if i had a 12-year-old, i might not let them read 'alaska' for any number of reasons.
    2.  the book has never been marketed to 12-year-olds.  never.  it is packaged like an adult book; it doesn't even say it's published by a kids' book imprint on the cover, and it's never shelved in the children's section of bookstores.  it's a book for high-school students.  furthermore, the ala does not hand it to 12-year-olds or say that it's appropriate for 12-year-olds.  as mary also pointed out, it's for a book that falls within an age range that starts at 12 and ends at 18.  in my case, the book is published for kids 14 and up.
    this illuminating quote can be found in this active blog:
    what to do about sexually explicit teen books?
    added 6 feb 2008:  author john green has responded to a controversy in depew, ny, about looking for alaskasafelibraries was mentioned in one of the stories.  regarding the author, i think you will enjoy john green's weblog:  i am not a pornographer, and this:

    how librarians and publishers have summarized the book, proving you can't judge a book by a librarian's review:

    librarians and school librarians who put the book into children's hands:

added 14 apr 2006:  there's even a first official looking for alaska myspace group. alasskkkaa my hero, currently with 141 members.  author john green, also a myspacer, describes how a movie might even be made out of his book!  (added 18 apr 2006:  indeed here is more information about the upcoming movie - teenage life is dreamy for josh schwartz, 30 mar 2006.)

remember above we showed author john green said, "it's a book for high-school students"?  well the ala sees to it otherwise and it seems school systems go along for the ala ride:
virginia:  looking for alaska was only published in 2005 but it has been quickly introduced into fairfax county public schools (fcps).  ....  looking for alaska is already in 16 fairfax county schools including 3 middle schools (frost - principal marti jackson, hughes - principal deborah jackson, key - principal sharon eisenberg)!  to the ala their "young adult" books are a very good way to push smutty, and graphic material to children.  it is sad to see superintendent dale and fcps system working hand-in-hand with them.  source:  pabbis news 11 apr 2006.
kansas:  since this news story [about fairfax county, virginia, above,] www.classkc.org has informed us that 9 copies of looking for alaska are already in blue valley school district in kansas - including 3 middle schoolsthe ala is helping flood local schools and libraries with this book - only just published in 2005.  source:  pabbis email 11 apr 2006.

the ala awards "looking for alaska" one of its highest honors, ensuring 12 year olds will read hard core pornography

ala ya award.we have just read a sampling of what's in store for readers of "looking for alaska."  writers may write whatever they want, and readers can read whatever they want.  the book contains hard core pornography and there's a legitimate market for such a book.

librarians cross the line, however, when they recommend this hard core pornographic book as the very best book of 2006 for children as young as twelve.  even justine henning recommended this book for children fourteen and up, as shown above.  an ala recommendation ensures the book's widespread distribution into the minds of children, as already illustrated as well.

now presenting, for your reading pleasure, the 2006 michael l. printz award for excellence in young adult literature.

this is how the ala pushes pornography on and endangers children. this is just one of the ways, giving sexually inappropriate books top awards for children. the ala even compares these awards to the "academy awards." these ala award winning pornographic books for children are then, as we have seen, adopted into local communities and schools. a child then gets the book based on the ala recommendation, perhaps from a large billboard in the teen section of the library promoting the book as we have seen, and parents are happy to see them reading such award winning books. only, as naomi wolf points out, parents don't know the book contains sexually inappropriate material they would never want their child to know. the child then reads the book, and, like children everywhere, immediately figures out which pages to dog-ear, then the child tries out the new sexual technique he just learned in the ala award winning book the librarian recommended that parents were happy to have their children read, and now the child has acquired a sexually transmitted disease, perhaps a deadly one. ask the ala about this and they will argue the book needs to be considered as a whole, but we all know the children only remember and act on the sexually charged sections.

the porn industry is free to make porn films.  theatres are free to run porn films.  the academy of motion picture arts and sciences is free to award porn films with an oscar.  but do they?  of course not.  and if they did, would anyone take it seriously anymore?  of course not.  would anyone allow their children to watch such "award winning" porn movies?  of course not.

similarly, authors are free to write material inappropriate for children.  publishers are free to sell material inappropriate for children.  librarians are free to award material inappropriate for children with the michael l. printz award for children.  but should they?  of course not.  and since they do, should anyone take the ala's recommendations or the ala itself seriously?  of course not.  should anyone allow their children to read such "award winning" material inappropriate for children?  of course not.  so why is the ala given such wide deference?  why is everyone running scared of the ala and afraid to speak the truth?

added 7 apr 2006:  this book and related issues are discussed in detail in this active blog for children's book authors and started by brent hartinger, author of the controversial "the geography club":  what to do about sexually explicit teen books?  why not log in to see the back and forth and perhaps add a few comments yourselves!

can anyone argue the ala is not pushing porn on children?

we have seen the trend "young adult" literature has taken lately.  books have "broken nearly every boundary of acceptable subject matter."  we have seen even leading feminists saying books for teenagers may have gone too far.  children's book writers themselves are sickened by the effect of the books on their own children.  isn't what barbara feinberg said the exact truth about the ala?  here is the ala confirming her conclusions, from judson board set to write final chapter on sci-fi book, march 22, 2006:

judith krug, director of the ala's office for intellectual freedom, said [regarding] 'the handmaid's tale' [that e]ven as the book is being challenged, it also is being used more frequently because teachers are trying to bring in contemporary, well-written material that interests students....  "they're dealing with real literature," she said.  "these are kids who are about to step into the real world."  she added:  "these are people who are going to be voting soon."

what an excuse, "real literature," because children will be "voting soon."  about what, aimless sex, drugs, alcohol, and death?  judith krug is the same one who said "parents who would tell their children not to read playboy 'don't really care about their kids growing up and learning to think and explore.'"  as the ala says, totally ignoring the law and us v. ala, us supreme court, 23 jun 2003 and board of education v. pico, us supreme court, 25 jun 1982:

those libraries with a mission that includes service to minors should make available to them a full range of information necessary to become thinking adults and the informed electorate envisioned in the constitution.  the opportunity to participate responsibly in the electronic arena is also vital for nurturing the information literacy skills demanded by the information age.  librarians need to remember that minors also possess first amendment rights.  only parents and legal guardians have the right and responsibility to restrict their children's--and only their own children's--access to any electronic resource.

then we looked at one specific book, "looking for alaska."  we read the hard core pornographic activity set to a backdrop of sex and alcohol.  we placed these passages here because we would not be believed otherwise.

next we showed that the ala choose this book as the top book of 2006 for "young adults."  its description of the book completely ignored the crude sexual content.  twelve year olds are the target audience of this book, according to the ala.  books getting ala awards get prominent mention in many locations nationwide.  we showed examples of the book being recommended by local librarians to local children.  we also saw children were getting the message.

when a child reads the book, he or she is now sexualized or further sexualized, thanks to the ala giving the book one of its top awards.  the child, now having learned about oral sex or whatever, is significantly more likely to try it out for his or herself.  having thus directly experienced oral sex, the child is now in significantly greatly danger of contracting a serious sexual disease, possibly a deadly one, and transmitting it to others.  and since the sexualization cycle has started, it's not likely to stop, exposing the child to danger over and over again.  twelve year olds and up.

few of us think 12 year olds should be reading hard core pornography.  the ala does, however, awarding such a book its top award to maximize its exposure, so to speak, to children.  we explained that if "academy awards" were given to porn films, no one would take them seriously or allow their children to watch such movies, so why should the "academy awards" of sexually inappropriate books by treated any differently.

this being just one of the ala's many porn pushing actions, can anyone seriously argue that the ala is not pushing porn on children?  considering the ala's influence in public schools and libraries nationwide, is the ala not the nation's leading porn pusher for children?


truth is stranger than fiction

added 14 apr 2006:  folks, truth is stranger than fiction.  while you are about to learn how the ala pushes porn on children and gets away with it scot free, even getting librarians and school administrators to assist in this effort nationwide, keep in mind this unbelievable information, and we quote:  "officials at the ohio state university are investigating an osu mansfield librarian for 'sexual harassment' after he recommended four conservative books for a freshman reading program.  ....  scott savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, ... was put under 'investigation' by osu's office of human resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel 'unsafe.'"

so pushing porn on children is perfectly acceptable but a librarian recommending college students read conservative books, thereby making professors feel "unsafe," is sexual harassment.  does this not outrage you totally?  read more here:  "osu librarian slapped with 'sexual harassment' charge for recommending conservative books for freshmen," 13 apr 2006, by alliance defense fund media relations.

for more details, including osu internal emails, see "librarian attacked by profs for promoting 'marketing of evil'; college employee accused of 'sexual harassment' for recommending kupelian's best-selling book," 15 apr 2006.  "the intellectual rape of scott savage," by mike s. adams, 18 apr 2006.  "so much for academic freedom," by rebecca hagelin, 18 apr 2006.  "ohio st. drops harassment charges against conservative librarian; attorney suggests legal response might be forthcoming," by jim brown and jody brown, 19 apr 2006.  "it ain't over 'til the fat lesbian sings," by mike s. adams, 20 apr 2006.  "update:  university librarian won't face harassment charge for suggesting conservative books," by christopher flickinger, apr 20, 2006.  "author says profs' protest propels book sales skyward," by jim brown, 21 apr 2006.  "campus heterophobia," by david limbaugh, 21 apr 2006:  "you have to be naive not to recognize that the radical homosexual lobby is pushing its lifestyle on american society and using intimidation tactics, such as we see here, to compel society's acceptance of homosexual behavior as mainstream or normal."  (kind of like the radical ala pushing sexually inappropriate materials on children using intimidation tactics to compel society's acceptance of sexualized little boys and girls.)  "free-speech fights flare on campuses; reading list at osu mansfield prompts latest round of debate," by kathy lynn gray, 21 apr 2006.  more stories here.

added 30 apr 2006:  the best story is by the banned author himself:  "how ohio state university is marketing evil," by david kupelian, 28 apr 2006.
the hated book of that name ["marketing of evil"] explains exactly how america has been transformed over the last few decades from a beautiful, unified, judeo-christian culture into a divided, confused and contentious society increasingly hostile to its own core values.  it shows how millions of americans have been induced to accept beliefs and behaviors that would have horrified our parents and grandparents, and to call it progress.  and it documents how this profound change has been accomplished, through a series of brilliant marketing campaigns � programs of persuasion and manipulation calculated to radically alter the way we think and feel about many of life's jugular issues like abortion, homosexuality, the constitution, divorce, the news media, church, sex, and so on � often using the very words of the "marketers" themselves.
today, nowhere is this marketing juggernaut more brazen than on our nation's college campuses.
as the author says, "ready to take a 'marketing of evil' tour?"  this article is a must read.  the advanced psychological techniques discussed, including "psychological terrorism meant to silence expression of or even support for dissenting opinion," appear to be the same as those used by the ala to convince people sexually inappropriate material for children is actually good for children, helping them to grow to become "thinking adults" and an "informed electorate":
we mean conversion of the average american's emotions, mind, and will, through a planned psychological attack, in the form of propaganda fed to the nation via the media.  we mean "subverting" the mechanism of prejudice to our own ends � using the very processes that made america hate us to turn their hatred into warm regard � whether they like it or not.
"banned books week" for example?  "propaganda fed to the nation via the media" from the ala:  "a quick and easy guide to banned books week for librarians"?
the truth is, scott savage didn't harass anyone.  but it is the faux victims, those who would, if they could, silence everyone who champions the judeo-christian moral values that america is founded upon � they are the ones who have made osu and most of america's college campuses "unsafe" and "threatening."  but then, this is exactly the desired effect of desensitization and jamming.  after all, the "marketers of evil" will convert as many people as they can.  but if they can't convert you � the next best thing is to shut you up.
too bad for the ala it can't "shut up" safelibraries.org and others like us though they try.  here is an example of the ala's efforts to promote its own propaganda and "shut up" safelibraries.org.

added 10 may 2006:  best of all, the censored librarian speaks in an outstanding, must-read article the ala refused to publish despite previously agreeing to do so, so sit back and read what the ala itself has censored so you won't see it:  "persecuted librarian censored again," by scott savage, 9 may 2006.  here are some quotes proving again the ala is exactly as safe libraries has been reporting, including a direct challenge to judith krug whom we have said is the de facto leader of the ala and the chief cause of the ala's porn pushing proclivities:
as librarian david durant noted in his 2005 bombshell article in the chronicle of higher education, "the loneliness of a conservative librarian," the lopsidedly leftist, activist tilt in librarianship has resulted in "a politicized atmosphere of groupthink and intolerance," which increasingly privileges the feelings of officially protected groups over the bill of rights.
ultimately, ala's current actions speak louder than the words it once uttered as a defender of free speech.  if today's association won't stand up for anti-communist librarians in cuba, i'm not holding my breath anymore that they'll stand up for allegedly "anti-gay" me.  (memo to j. krug:  four weeks of heavy media and internet exposure, and you haven't called � is this a "day of silence" protest on your part?)

negative reaction turns positive in the light of truth

added 18 dec 2006:  negative reaction can be turned positive when the light of truth is openly received.  here is an example:
from: ?????jr@jmu.edu
date: dec 7, 2006 2:53 pm
subject: serious or a joke.
to: safelibraries


hello,

i am a college bound high school senior who came across your website when searching about looking for alaska, which we read in high school and everyone adored.  i am just wondering if your site is serious or really pro-ala tongue-in-cheek.  i think it might be an ironical attempt to show the horror of censorship.  my english teacher thinks it is a serious straghtforward site, but in my opinion it is so overwritten and exagerated that it might really be pro-ala and anti-censorship.  please respond because i have a bet and a strong suspicion that their are intelligent students behind this unamerican mask.  thanks.  jr
from:  safe libraries
date:  dec 8, 2006 7:59 am
subject:  ha,ha. no kidding.
to:  ?????jr@???.edu

first of all, we congratulate you for taking an interest in this matter, then further for writing to us with your very perceptive questions.

note that you read the book in high school. well we have no problem with that.  actually, we have no problem with anyone reading any book they want to read.  the problem arises where the book is placed into the hands of children much younger than you, in combination with the identity of the persons doing the pushing and the inappropriateness of the material.  we have no problem with parents giving children any book whatsoever.  librarians, however, are a different story.  for that matter, anyone other than the parents is a different story.  12 years old are, for the most part, too young to be exposed to oral sex, porn movie descriptions, and pervasively vulgar language, especially where--and here's the key--someone allows them access to the material, and even recommends or awards, that their own parents would not let them read.  librarians are doing that.  looking for alaska is not a book most parents of 12 year olds would let their children read.  yet librarians give it a fancy award they literally made up for the purpose of pushing such books and that ensures the book will get wide circulation, including wonderful posters in public libraries nationwide; and eager parents, trusting the ala to be trustworthy, allow the children to read such a book--not knowing, of course, of its true contents, precisely because the librarians misled them about the contents.  boy, that was a long sentence, maybe i should go back to highschool!  so librarians complain parents must be involved in a child's book selections, but those same librarians mislead the parents about the full contents of the books -- they set up the game so they win either way.

now we are 100% against censorship.  but the ala's claim that keeping sexually inappropriate books out of the hands of children is censorship does not make it censorship.  if it does, the us supreme court and community standards are the world's leading censors.  whom do you believe, the us supreme court and your local community, or a group of librarians from chicago forcing an agenda into public libraries nationwide, which agenda likely results in the continued rape and molestation of children?

we are not pro-ala but we are not anti-ala.  we are anti-ala-policy that the ala continues to follow despite its loss in us v. ala, 2003.  if the us supreme court ruled against you, would you be able to get away with ignoring the us supreme court?  i doubt it.  but the ala does, and children suffer.  you heard the phrase "bush lied and people died"?  similarly, it's "the ala jested and the children get molested."

now i'll add this.  it is a serious, straightforward site, so your teacher is correct, but it may also be overwritten.  however it is not exaggerated -- indeed we quote numerous people and the ala itself to back up everything we say.  we realize what we are saying sounds outrageous, but that's not because we made it up -- rather it's because the actions and statements of the ala are so outrageous, and we gather the resources in one place to prove it.  we present very little original research, basically none.  rather, we source everything we cite, and if we missed something, let us know and we can get the cite.  this stuff is too wacky to make up.

so we appreciate your having the fun of writing this letter and calling out our unamerican veneer, in your opinion, but we are against censorship, and the ala pushes sexually inappropriate material on children even if we have not convinced you of that fact.  someday children will stop being raped and molested in public libraries.  that's the day our web site is no longer needed.

thanks again for writing.
from:  ?????jr@???.edu
date:  dec 8, 2006 9:04 am
subject:  re: fwd: ha,ha. no kidding.
to:  safe libraries

thank you for your response.  i understand your point and personally if i had a twelve year old sibling i would try to convince them to wait and read that book when they were in high school.  you clarified my questions but i know that my librarian would not recommend alaska to a twelve year old.  in my opinion the money-hungry publishers are just as guilty.  many of the female students read sandpiper or teach me this session and i think that the publisher reccomended those books to 13 and up.  i don't know if ala reccomended them.  our mobile book fair that comes to town every year had posters and adverstising for alaska but it did not seem to me to be specifically geared toward the younger students.  looking again at your site knowing that it is legit makes me more understanding.  i apologize for the unamerican comment i was a little upset because i really liked the book and thought you were attacking it.  i don't fully agree with your ideas but now understand.  thanks again, jr.
added 6 feb 2008:  another example of negative reaction that can be turned positive in the light of truth:
dear mr. kleinman,

as i see it, you are severely exaggerating the points on your "porn pushers" page, especially when dealing with looking for alaska.  if you actually look at the book, you would realize it is very much against physical intimacy.  the scenes which you take from the book are very awkward and completely unarousing.  alaska is an amazing book and 'i would personally like it to be taken off of your "porn pushers" section, as it is not pornography.

thanks.
dear [so and so],

thank you for writing.  i agree with you that book is not porn, that it is well written, and the scenes are as you describe.  i do not know or never noticed if is was against physical intimacy.

as to slightly exaggerating, well it might seem that way, so i do not fault you for saying so.  however, i too felt what i had said sounds a little over the top if i did not also include information from other sources to back up my observations.  so i specifically found and included observations from others of all political stripes.  taken as a whole, no exaggeration is present, except to the extent that one isolates portions of someone's statements and calls that exaggerating.  but that is why i included the statements of a variety of people, and i included the sources of those statements for reasons of verifiability and notability.  for example, naomi wolf really said what i claimed she said, and i link directly to the new york times web site to prove it.  you may think some of what she said is exaggeration but you have to look at the picture as a whole.  as it stands now, there is no exaggeration present.

now the book is clearly not porn.  however, there are small sections that are x-rated (or "very awkward and completely unarousing" porn), and the book is filled with profanity throughout.  there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, or with the author.  indeed the author appears to have a bright future before him.

the problem is when the ala, an organization revered for its book selections and awards, awards this particular book with an award for children as young as twelve.  perhaps worse, no notice whatsoever is provided as to the content containing x-rated material and otherwise being pervasively vulgar.

the problem here is the ala, not the book or the author.  the ala awards a pervasively vulgar book containing an x-rated section for kids twelve and up, does not provide notice as to the x-rated contents or the vulgarity, and knows its lists are used as gold standards nationwide for promoting books to children.  that is the problem.  that is the porn pushing i'm talking about (not the vulgarity issue).  that is not what the ala used to do, but it does now, and i have every right to point this out to the public.  indeed most people are surprised to hear the ala does this since the ala never used to do this.  when i informed that grocery store of the x-rated nature of the book, they evaluated it themselves then removed that book from the front aisles where the children are and put the book back in the book section.  so i'm not the only one initially clueless about ala lists who then got an eye opening after the truth became self evident.

you're at lsu i see.  if you have a class on this and your class professor wishes to have some kind of interaction with me for the benefit of the class, i would be happy to see if something could be arranged.

thanks again for writing.

-dan kleinman
mr. kleinman,

i see where you are coming from with your arguments, but i will go as far to say that it is a book that should be available to people age 12 and above.  think of it this way.  if you are 12 years old, that's about the time you start hearing and wondering about sex.  naturally, it's one of those subject you do not want to talk to your parents about, so you try some other solution.  anyone with an internet connection looking for information on this topic will eventually find actual pornography.  this way of seeing sex would be your first impression, not the way it is described in alaska (again, awkward and totally unarrousing [focusing on how it is better to have a non-physical connection]).  therefore, alaska would have the effect of showing sex in a way that kids don't see as someone trying to lecture you.  also, i was just researching the topic of the book being banned when i happened to stumble upon your website.

thank you for your reply and i look forward to discussing this further,
dear [so and so],

thanks for writing again and responding.

i agree with you again!  you are correct about kids learning about certain things in a manner that reaches them.

it's personal preference as to the age.  i don't think twelve is a good for this book.  and note the author himself said he would not give his own award winning book to his own twelve year old if he had one.  he thought fourteen was better.  but everyone's different, so your view if fine.

be that as it may, there still is no excuse for the ala not providing notice as to the contents of the book.  i was in a book store chain the other day.  the "young adult" books had a section demarcated with signs, and the signs had asterisks.  guess what the asterisks said.  something like warning, books may contain mature content and should be reviewed for age appropriateness.  something like that.  short.  sweet.  in the right location to be seen.  simply absent from the ala.  others obviously recognize the need to give warning, and the ala does too (because they half heartedly do in a very few cases), but they simply refuse to do so.  that is misleading.  that is a serious problem.  what do you say about that?

people have trusted the ala for, what, a hundred years?  people are not accustomed to the ala misleading them as to the contents of books being awarded or recommended by the ala, so people accept the ala recommendations blindly.  and that is exactly why the ala does not provide notice.  to me that's a problem.  to almost all people not affiliated with libraries that's a problem.  again, i am perfectly within my rights to tell people the ala is not providing notice of x-rated content in children's books.  the people can then decide on their own what to do.  as it stands now, the ala misleads them, and they do not have freedom of choice.  that is taken from them by the ala.

thanks again.

-dan kleinman

grocery store pushes "looking for alaska" next to "bob the builder" in checkout aisle at child eye height

added 18 feb 2007:  below is a picture that says a thousand words.  bear in mind the oral sex included in the book the ala awarded as the top book of 2006 for 12 year olds as described above.  see it here right next to a "bob the builder" book and lots of candy in a grocery store checkout aisle at child eye height.

this picture was taken today in a store that will remain nameless—no doubt the store was misled as to the contents of the book, and that shiny, gold ala award label likely has everything to do with that.

let's compare the books:  "bob the builder":  "bob the builder.  can we fix it?  bob the builder.  yes we can!"  "looking for alaska":  "lara unbuttoned my pants and pulled my boxers down a little and pulled out my penis.  ....  and then she wrapped her hand around it and put it into her mouth."  is there any doubt this book is being sold here as a direct result of the ala award?  click to see a larger version of the picture.

looking for alaska cover. click to see a larger version of the picture.

another author says his own book is inappropriate for certain children

added 28 apr 2007:  another author, besides john green, has said his own book is inappropriate for certain children due to sexual inappropriateness:

mark mathabane, whose book "kaffir boy" was pulled from eighth-grade classrooms at an intermediate school four weeks ago due to a passage about men paying boys for sex, said the book's original version is inappropriate for middle school students.

"those words are too graphic for middle schoolers," said the 46-year-old author in a phone interview from his home in portland, ore.  "you can talk to middle schoolers about sex without being too graphic."

debated memoir's author agrees with book's replacement, by brian foley, the examiner (san francisco), 25 april 2007.
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