Kevin will be at table 214 on the second floor at MOCCA artfest this weekend. He’ll have lots of copies of “Bad For You”and all his other books as well as very affordable copies of the full color activist comic “Worker Justice Illustrated.” Come on by!
As part of the American Library Association’s celebration of Banned Books Week, which is taking place from Sept. 21-27, BAD FOR YOU authors Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham will be presenting two special slide show readings at local libraries, detailing the dark days in this country when comic books were once burned! That’s right, comics were thought to be corrupting kids in the 1940s and 50s! And guess what, grown-ups are still trying to ban comics today!!!
In fact, BAD FOR YOU has a whole chapter on the kinds of reading materials that adults were once afraid of kids partaking in—including fears from ancient times about reading itself! Also included will be examples of scary old fairy tales and the secret to why Harry Potter books keep getting banned (hint, it has something to do with the devil).
The Banned Book Week presentations seem especially appropriate this year given that the ALA is focusing on censorship issues around comics and graphic novels. “We want to publicize the many events being organized around the country during Banned Books Week,” said Judy Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week Executive Committee, “to show the collective voice that is speaking out against censorship.”
The first talk will be presented at the Hamilton Grange Library, 503 West 145th Street in the Bronx, on Monday, September 22, from 3-4:30 pm and will include a hands-on section where kids can make their own comics. On Saturday, September 27, the authors will be talking at Manhattan’s main branch, at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium, from 3 to 4 pm.
Both events are free and open to the public. Hope everyone in the area can join the authors for our celebration of Banned Books Week and find out how much fun BAD can be!
Now that’s my kind of poem. It’s always a pleasure to when Mr. Clough reviews one’s books in his typically incisive and thorough way. Some favorite lines:
“While aimed at a young-adult audience (complete with a glossary of terms in the back to help younger readers understand certain historical, legal and philosophical terms), there’s no mistaking this book’s bold, anti-authoritarian stance. ”
“Bad For You‘s arguments are well-built, the content is well-organized, and the book has a sense of humor about itself while being utterly serious in its goals to demolish a fear-mongering culture of rigidity and give kids the ammunition with which to do so.”
Read the full review (HERE)
Young Adult sci-fi novel, Little Brother, was recently booted off a Florida high school summer reading list. According to the novel’s author, Cory Doctorow, the school’s principal “cited reviews that emphasized the book’s positive view of questioning authority,” as the problem. Guess “questioning authority” is an idea that the students at Booker T. Washington High couldn’t be bothered with over their break. An affirmative view on “hacker culture” was also troubling. “In short,” Doctorow said, “…the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.”
To protest the principal’s decision, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) sent a letter to the Pensacola Florida school board asking that Little Brother be returned to the reading list. “School officials are bound by constitutional considerations, including a duty not to give in to pressure to suppress unpopular or controversial ideas,” said Executive Director Joan Bertin. “Cory Doctorow’s work as an author and activist engages with the realities today’s young people are confronting on a daily basis as citizens in their own right,” Charles Brownstein explained, who is another Executive Director, this time of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund—which is partners with the NCAC on The Kids’ Right to Read Project (KRRP). “We hope the concerns expressed by all of us at the KRRP will lead school officials to honor the rights of their students by reinstating this valuable book, ” continued Brownstein.
Time for another BAD FOR YOU roundup of reviews (excerpts included; follow link for full post).
From graphic novel writer/researcher/editor Paul Buhle’s review for The Comics Journal:
“For a book aimed at kids, this one is chock-full of information, but presented so well in comics (and also charts and info-graphics) that the details are destined to move easily, and usefully, into young minds.”
From comic legend Tony Isabella’s blog Tales of Wonder:
“This non-fiction book combines comic-book storytelling – art by Pyle – with graphs and prose articles in a delightful journey through the centuries. … If I ever write a sequel to 1000 Comic Books You Must Read, you can bet Pyle and Cunningham have earned themselves a place in it.”
From a “Young Adult/Children’s Librarian in Indiana” blog:
“This is a cool exploration of the many ways that adults have tried to take away fun from kids and teens.”
And from a self-described “ artistic queer vegan feminist librarian” at the blog Glitter and Dirt:
“AHHHH! This book is awesome!!!
The whole of the piece is a testament to the historical and present American mistrust and mistreatment of youth– it’s totally great. I read it straight through.”
Our interview on the Geekdad site “Video Games, D&D, and Farting on the Bus: Bad for You Is Good for You,” got a discussion going about the once vilified game of chess.
That exposure lead to a post on a gaming website Gamasutra – a coveted spot in the eyes of the authors, since BAD FOR YOU features a whole section on the debate about the impact of video games on kids.
“Like video games, chess was once decried as a time-waster that kept kids entranced at a desk for hours when they could have been outside playing or studying something useful.”
BAD FOR YOU even appears on a website about “BIGFOOT” and “THE PARANORMAL.” It’s a blog by the author of Legend Tripping: The Ultimate Family Experience. The website features an excerpt from the book about, big surprise, Legend Tripping.
It seems our book inspired another characteristically insightful rumination by author Clive Thompson:
“So what’s more interesting here isn’t the critique of chess. It’s the yawning cultural gap between the author and our own age — evinced in the behaviors we applaud and revere. Today, chess is regarded as a deeply virtuous activity, because it supposedly helps develop a Jedi-class control over one’s attention. But laser-like focus wasn’t always regarded as such a terrific thing.”
Read it all HERE
Blogger and author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks: An Epic Quest for Reality Among Role Players, Online Gamers, and Other Dwellers of Imaginary Realms Ethan Gilsdorf had us sit down (at our computers- this is for GeekDad after all) and have a chat about Bad For You. Excerpt:
GeekDad: Now parents seem to lock in and dictate every waking minute of their kids’ lives. What do you think explains the rise of helicopter parenting today?
Pyle: I feel the media’s insatiable need to keep viewers on the hook is part of the dynamic, and it seems fear and anxiety are the emotions they are quickest to exploit. It’s the same with weather, crime, health issues, you name it.
Cunningham: Yeah, there are more sources for news and those sources are providing news 24-7–and they’re all struggling to grab the viewers’ attention. When there’s a tragedy, something such as a school shooting or a child kidnapped, the stories are examined in detail and repeated endlessly by various cable and internet new sources and the impression parents get from the wall-to-wall coverage is that these tragedies are constant and increasing with each year. In fact, statistics indicate that it’s the safest it’s ever been in America to be a kid and youth crime rates continue to decrease since they peaked in the early 1990s.
Check out the whole thing (HERE)
…”required” one school to cancel the popular play their five year olds would stage each year. Gawker has the details (HERE).
For why that might be a bad idea, look below:
The country is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act this year, but on the other side of freedom, there’s another important anniversary to acknowledge as well: “On this day, in 1954, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency was closing out a second day of hearings.”
And, of course, one of the key speakers during the investigation was Dr. Fredric Wertham, who’s testimony before the committee helped to sway the senators to recommend the adoption of the comic book code, the self-imposed censorship that lead to the demise of much of the horror and crime comics from that period. What it didn’t lead to, though, was a decrease in juvenile delinquency. The numbers didn’t start to decline until the 1990s! The comic book code officially ended in 2012.
There has not been an increase in youth crime since the code was lifted.
In honor of this special day, we are reprinting our map of the comic book burning in America from the 1940s & 50s.