Young Adult Lit/Crit

April 21, 2008

Censorship of New Graphic Novel, THE METRO, by Cairo Police

Filed under: Censorship and Related Isseus — sunyprof @ 11:19 am

As I think I may have shared with some of you, I’m going to be teaching a graduate research course in Cairo in June. My grad students will be international teachers.

In my investigation of contemporary Egyptian literature, I was interested to see this notice of the publication of the first adult graphic novel,* THE METRO, in Egypt and then soon after to read at the Words without Borders site (well worth investigating) that all copies of the novel have been seized from the activist publishers’ office for “disturbing public morals.”

You can read the press release at The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. KES

*At this site, you can see/read an excerpt from the novel which reads right to left.

April 2, 2008

More From Chris Crutcher

Filed under: Censorship and Related Isseus — sunyprof @ 6:53 pm

I am sharing two emails with you–the first is an email Chris received yesterday. The second is Chris’ response in which he references SUNY Cortland (SUNY teachers). He suggests we “get a dialogue going.” I agree. KES

From: debmca@verizon.net
To: STotan717@aol.com
Sent: 4/1/2008 6:39:54 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Whale Talk

Mr. Crutcher–

Just had to take a few minutes to tell you our experience with one of your books. I know you are an
acclaimed author winning many awards, but as we, my husband, 13 yr old daughter and I, were on a 9 hour
car ride going to a State Swim meet in Long Island we were all enthralled with listening to Whale Talk on
tape. We hadn’t finished witht he first tape when the language started spiralling downward. We continued to
listen because the story line was so good, However we could not put the second tape in and it was because of the language. Now I understand you want to reach a certain population, but there is no rating on this
tape.

I am a special education teacher and work for a college (SUNY Geneseo) as a student teacher supervisor
and value books, libraries, etc.I will be sharing this experience with my student teachers about making sure
they check out the language before recommending books to their students.

I also know that with music at the library there are often 2 versions because of offensive language. I was
wondering if there are 2 versions of your book? Seems to me that if you really wanted to reach teens you
would make it so that if could be included in schools????

I really got into the book, but could not get past the first tape.

Debbie McAllister

From: Stotan717
To: debmca@verizon.net
Sent: 4/1/2008 6:55:28 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time
Subj: Re: Whale Talk

Debbie,

There aren’t two versions. That’s all there is. While I appreciate your concern about the language, the truth is that the Rich Marshall’s of the world talk just like that. They’re mean and they’re viscous and they take people out emotionally and psychologically every chance they get. Raw racism sounds exactly like that. The character of Heidi is based on a real girl who, when she grew up, gave me permission to use her story. I heard her being called those names when she was five. In my mind it is a testament to her resilience and her heroism that she made it through. I can’t tell you the number of Rich Marshall’s I’ve dealt with in my years as a family therapist. So, I guess the point is, it’s all real.

I have to say it’s interesting to me when a teacher takes issue with language. Any teacher out there can sit with his or her students and get a discussion going about that language and the hate that goes with it, and it will instantly be instructive… for the teacher and the students. What you’re talking to me about are YOUR sensibilities. Kids read that book all the time and report back how “real” it seems.

I was at SUNY just a few weeks ago, and met with a number of teachers who think it’s a great book. I will be back in your area next week visiting schools, many of which have used it. I also met with a number of student teachers who plan to use it. If you feel the need to “share your experience” with your fellow teachers, feel free to go ahead. I will send your email to the SUNY teachers and the upstate NY teachers I’m acquainted with and maybe it will get a dialogue going. I have to say it’s sad to me when educators put this much weight on language and miss out on the things that get kids reading.

Chris Crutcher

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