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There’s nothing like a good book banning…

February 16, 2009

Yes, it’s true. It’s book banning under the guise of “public safety.” (h/t Gina Cobb)

Let me explain.

I didn’t even know it existed, but apparently there is a Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The goal: to ensure that manufacturers and importers of children’s items meet lead and phthalate limits.

Books are included, and apparently any book printed before 1985 (you know, all the ancient ones) are subject to regulations under this act. I guess they’re quite fearful that “old” books are a health hazard. If the book doesn’t pass the test, you cannot sell it as a children’s book and you cannot shelve it in the children’s section of the library. You can re-sell the books as “collectible” (if it does indeed qualify as a collectible) but you cannot market it toward children. You even have to make sure it is clearly marked for adult use only. Even though it’s a…CHILDREN’S BOOK.

Oh, and no matter how old a book is, if it is stapled together (which a lot of children’s books are) then you’re SOL. So even if it was printed last year, you can’t sell it for use by a child…but you can’t sell it as a collectible either…so what do you do with it? Say it is adult fiction?

We’re talking about a rich history of children’s literature that we’re just going to throw away (in some cases literally). It sickens me. What are we teaching here? Apparently history is only as good as the paper it was printed on…what a joke. And yes, I think I consider fiction part of our history…think about how much you can learn from looking back on what people have written over the years…especially what we’ve written for our children. Does anyone else feel how powerful that can be?

And to make matters worse, I found one bookseller who was forced to take copies of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day off the shelves because it was bound with staples.

That hurts my heart. I think I’ll move to Australia (you’ll get it if you’ve ever read the book)

~T the D

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