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Freedom to Read Kit 2014

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.


This year’s Freedom to Read review marks the thirtieth anniversary of its publication and of Freedom to Read Week in Canada. It was 1984 when the Book and Periodical Council, through its Freedom of Expression Committee, first published this annual review to explore the freedom to read in Canada and elsewhere and to inform and assist booksellers, publishers, librarians, students, educators, writers and the public.

To commemorate Freedom to Read’s thirtieth anniversary, some of our writers have cast a look back over the past three decades. Franklin Carter describes challenges to 30 publications and looks at the origins of Freedom to Read Week. Jason Openo traces his life from his teen years as a book borrower to his career as a public librarian and considers the changing landscape of the librarians’ profession.

Mark Bourrie and Pippa Wysong each cast a critical eye at the restrictions placed on the ability of government librarians, archivists and scientists to freely share information. Charles Montpetit examines how artists and writers can fall victim to censorship, especially if the material is deemed violent in nature. Ann Curry takes a more lighthearted look at what adults hate but children love in “scatological” children’s literature.

Finally, the “Get Involved” section provides exercises and resources for teachers, librarians and students. This and previous issues of Freedom to Read, as well as appendices and other resources, are available at www.freedomtoread.ca.

We hope you enjoy this issue.

— Elizabeth Raymer, Editor

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Position Statement: Freedom of Expression and Freedom to Read

Book and Periodical Council Members 2013–14

News Bytes
By Franklin Carter

Heiltsuk Cultural Architect:
Jessie Housty in Conversation

By Elizabeth Raymer

Classified: The Silencing of
Librarians and Archivists
By Mark Bourrie

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Scientific
Research Under Wraps
By Pippa Wysong

Censoring Violence in Entertainment
Media: Who Are the Real Victims?
By Charles Montpetit

Bums, Poops and Pees: Why Children
Love and Adults Censor Scatological
Children’s Books
By Ann Curry

The Provocative and Profane:
A Librarian Looks Back over Three
Decades of Challenges
By Jason Openo

The Origins of Freedom to Read Week
By Franklin Carter

Dear Teacher: An Open Letter from
Margaret Laurence to Schoolteachers

30 Challenged Publications
By Franklin Carter

Telegram from the BPDC to Alice Munro,
Janet Lunn and June Callwood

Meanwhile in Quebec …
By Charles Montpetit

Teaching Tough Topics
By Ken Setterington

2013 Awards

Surveillance Without Borders
By Philip Slayton

Access to Information in Crisis
By Julie Payne

Ontario Inches Toward Anti-SLAPP Legislation
By Ron Brown

The School Library as Intellectual Freedom Fighter
By Shelagh Paterson

Intellectual Freedom Questioned: Challenges to Library Resources and Policies in Publicly Funded Canadian Libraries in 2012
By Alvin M. Schrader and Donna Bowman

Book Profiles: Dear Sir, I Intend to Burn Your Book; The War on Science; Banned on the Hill; Black Code
By Hilary McLaughlin


Ideas for Educators

Get Involved in Freedom to Read Week

Get Involved Online

Talk It Up

Activity: Freedom to Read 2014 Quiz

Activity: Host an Event

Winning Student Essays and Video from the Calgary Public Library’s Contest, 2013

Activity: Word-Search Puzzle

Activity: Acrostic

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%image% Credits

Editor: Elizabeth Raymer

Consulting Editor: Franklin Carter

Creative Director/Poster Design: Reva Pomer

Contributors: Mark Bourrie, Donna Bowman, Ron Brown, Elizabeth Cameron, Ann Curry, Ethan Gaiser, Alexa Iwanic, Hilary McLaughlin, Charles Montpetit, Jason Openo, Shelagh Paterson, Julie Payne, Alvin M. Schrader, Ken Setterington, Philip Slayton, Pippa Wysong
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