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Freedom to Read Kit 2011

NOTE: The Freedom to Read Kit will not be available in 2021, but will return 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 2021 by ordering posters.


From the Supreme Court to the streets of the G20 Summit protests, from the halls of residential schools to the Senate floor, this twenty-seventh edition of Freedom to Read covers the shifting landscape of censorship and free expression in Canada today.

In Freedom to Read 2011, we celebrate the heroes of free expression. Peter Carver profiles Patsy Aldana, the tireless advocate against the censorship of children’s literature. And Andrea Bear Nicholas discusses the struggle to save indigenous languages in Canada from extinction.

We explore where we came from and where we are heading. Bryan Palmer takes a look back at the censorship of trade unionists and socialists in Canada. David Gollob looks at the future of journalism as it moves online.

We also examine recent victories for free expression. Kathy English writes about a Supreme Court decision that will likely thaw libel chill for journalists, writers and publishers in Canada.

The Get Involved section includes ideas on how schools, libraries and communities can engage these issues and provides strategies to teach—instead of ban—controversial material.

But this is just a small taste of this year’s Freedom to Read which explores the complexities of free expression. Dig in.


Position Statement: Freedom of Expression and Freedom to Read

Book and Periodical Council Members 2010–11

News Bytes
By Franklin Carter

Breaking Ground: Patsy Aldana in Conversation
By Peter Carver

Free Expression Gets Freer with New Supreme Court Ruling
By Kathy English

Canada’s Hidden Censorship: Banning Books and Magazines at the Border
By Franklin Carter

Whatever Happened to the Death of the Newspaper?
By David Gollob

I’d Like My Coffee Filtered, Not My Research
By Shelagh Paterson

Excerpts from the Senate Debate on Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Expression v. Freedom from Contempt: Canada’s Top Court Agrees to Hear the Whatcott Case
By Franklin Carter

Censorship’s Coercive History: How Libel, Legislation and Lockdowns Have Kept the Lid on Canadian Socialists and Trade Unionists
By Bryan D. Palmer

The Fate of Canadian Independent Bookstores
By Josh Bloch

Canada’s Disappearing Languages: Andrea Bear Nicholas in Conversation
By Josh Bloch
Award-Winning Activists and Writers of 2010

Trends in Challenges to Canadian Library Resources and Policies, 2006–09
By Donna Bowman, Alvin Schrader and Toni Samek

Because Writers Speak Their Minds
By Khalid Sohail

Black Day for Free Expression in Canada
By Julie Payne

Religious Chill
By Ron Brown

Book Profile: Fearless Female Journalists
By Teri Degler

Book Profile: The News
By Peter Steven

Just the Facts, Ma’am?
By Marc Glassman

Freedom to Read Week Activities and Events Across Canada 2010


Ideas for Educators

Organize an Essay-Writing Contest

Start a Banned-Book Club

Speak Out for the Freedom to Read

Challenged Books and Magazines

Teaching Controversy
By Moira Wong and Josh Bloch

Excerpt from A Teaching Resource for Dealing with Controversial and Sensitive Issues: “Examination of the Role of Perspective in Novel Study”


Editor: Josh Bloch

Consulting Editor: Franklin Carter

Design: Reva Pomer

Poster Design: David Wyman

Contributors: Donna Bowman, Ron Brown, Peter Carver, Brendan de Caires, Teri Degler, Kathy English, Marc Glassman, David Gollob, Maggie Gosselin, Phyllis Jacklin, Bryan D. Palmer, Shelagh Paterson, Julie Payne, Toni Samek, Alvin Schrader, Miriam Scribner, Khalid Sohail, Moira Wong

Browse the Kit