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Freedom to Read Kit 2012

NOTE: The Freedom to Read Kit will not be available in 2022.

The Freedom to Read Kit is an annual review of current censorship issues in Canada, featuring provocative news articles, interviews with champions of free speech, and a Get Involved section with activities designed for classroom instruction and discussion.

Celebrate Freedom to Read Week 2022 by ordering posters.


The year 2011 was inspirational for proponents of free expression. A deep longing for democracy, human rights and equality drove people into the streets across the Muslim world and North America.

Although they sometimes faced violent responses, ordinary people armed with powerful ideas toppled governments in North Africa and challenged inequality at home. These events remind us that free expression is vital to building and maintaining healthy democracies. Freedom to Read 2012 looks at pressing issues of censorship and free expression in our Canadian democracy and around the world.

In this issue, we look at the freedom of Canadian youth to read. Lucy White explores censorship in theatre for young audiences. Anne Jayne writes about a newly amended law in Alberta that limits discussion of sexual orientation in public schools. And Professor George Dei explains why he is a longtime advocate for Africentric public schools.

Freedom to Read 2012 also features interviews with two tireless Canadian advocates of free expression: John Ralston Saul, the president of PEN International, and David Bouchard, an award-winning author and champion of literacy in aboriginal communities.

Librarians David Burke and Carol Perry tell us about their attempt to gain access to government documents, and Alvin Schrader and Donna Bowman report the latest attempts to remove books, magazines and DVDs from Canadian public libraries.

But there is much more in this issue of Freedom to Read 2012: book reviews, international news and ways to promote freedom to read in your community. I won’t give everything away. Enjoy!

— Josh Bloch, Editor

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Position Statement: Freedom of Expression and Freedom to Read
Book and Periodical Council Members 2011–12

News Bytes
By Franklin Carter

Enduring Advocate for Free Expression: John Ralston Saul in Conversation
By Brendan de Caires

Libel Tourism: Shopping Around for the Best Verdict
By Hilary McLaughlin

Dropping the Curtain on Children’s Theatre
By Lucy White

Changing the Story: Aboriginal Characters in CanLit; David Bouchard in Conversation
By Josh Bloch

Opting Out in the Classroom: Alberta’s Chilling Human Rights Amendments
By Anne Jayne

Access to Government Information in Canada’s Public Libraries
By David Burke and Carol Perry

Africentric Education: Enabling the Freedom to Read and Learn
By George J. Sefa Dei

The International View: Freedom of Expression in 2011

Meanwhile in Quebec . . .
By Charles Montpetit

Award-Winning Activists and Writers of 2011

Challenges to Canadian Library Resources and Policies in 2010
By Alvin M. Schrader and Donna Bowman

Facing Book Challenges: Two Canadian Authors’ Experiences
By Susan Swan and Cheryl Rainfield

Facing Cuts to Library Funding
By Ron Brown

Is Journalism Worth Dying For?
By Brendan de Caires

Book Profile: The Fog of War
By Grant Buckler

Book Profile: The Man in Blue Pyjamas
By Brendan de Caires

Book Profile: The Master Switch
By Wayne MacPhail

Freedom to Read Week Activities and Events Across Canada 2011


Ideas for Educators

Winners of the Calgary Public Library’s Freedom to Read Contest

Freedom to Read Kit Quiz

Speak Out for the Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Word Search

Banned Authors Word Search

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Editor: Josh Bloch

Consulting Editor: Franklin Carter

Creative Director: Reva Pomer

Poster Design: David Wyman

Contributors: Donna Bowman, Ron Brown, Grant Buckler, David Burke, Brendan de Caires, George J. Sefa Dei, Anne Jayne, Wayne MacPhail, Hilary McLaughlin, Charles Montpetit, Carol Perry, Cheryl Rainfield, Alvin M. Schrader, Susan Swan, Lucy White
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