Award-winning novelist and educator Jewell Parker Rhodes and her daughter, young adult author Kelly McWilliams, come together in conversation to discuss book bans and young adult literature. As individuals, it is our duty to provide the next generation of writers, teachers, journalists, activists, and readers with an education that includes all facets of life, an education that is free from unreasonable censorious threats. This discussion will address the vital role that children’s and young adult literature plays in the process of education, and how we can work to protect our youth from the threats to free expression.
This discussion is being presented in partnership with the Miami Book Fair.
Jewell Parker Rhodes is the award-winning author of several books for youth, including the New York Times bestsellers Black Brother, Black Brother and Ghost Boys, which has garnered over 30 awards and honors including the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and Walter Dean Myers Award. Rhodes is also the author of Paradise on Fire, Towers Falling, and the celebrated Louisiana Girls trilogy: Ninth Ward, Sugar, and Bayou Magic. Rhodes has visited hundreds of schools across the country and is a regular speaker at colleges and conferences. The driving force behind all of Rhodes’s work is to inspire social justice, equity, and environmental stewardship. Rhodes is the founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing and narrative studies professor and Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair at Arizona State University. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Carnegie Mellon University. Rhodes enjoys teaching, walking her toy Aussie sheepdogs, theater, dancing, and music. Born in Pittsburgh, she now lives in Seattle.
Kelly McWilliams is a mixed-race writer who has always gravitated toward stories about crossing boundaries and forging new identities. For this and so many other reasons, young adult literature will always be close to her heart. She is a graduate of the Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Brown University. Her upcoming novel, Agnes at the End of the World, benefitted from We Need Diverse Books’ Mentorship Program. McWilliams has crafted stories all her life, and her very first novel, Doormat (2004), was published when she was just 15 years old. Doormat became a Junior Library Guild selection and led to a feature in Seventeen magazine. McWilliams has previously worked as a staff writer for Romper, covering issues important to women and families. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, cooking (with mixed results), or hiking. She lives in Colorado with her partner and young daughter.
Meet poets at the frontlines of protest movements fighting for the right to speak freely and without fear of persecution.
Poetry is frequently used as a tool in protest movements to inspire, unite, and mobilise support. From Black Lives Matter and women’s liberation to protest movements in Myanmar and Afghanistan, poetry holds the power to gather crowds during a rally, or grab attention online. Poets can offer support and guidance in the most challenging, tragic or dangerous situations. Join Myanmarese-British poet ko ko thett and poet and scholar Dr Choman Hardi for a live poetry reading and conversation about the power of poetry in protest movements. The event will be chaired by Index on Censorship deputy chair Kate Maltby.
In celebration of Banned Books Week 2021 with the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us,” Index on Censorship and the British Library invite you to explore the role of poetry in protest. What role does poetry play in protest movements? And can poetry be a form of protest in its own right?
Kate Maltby is the Deputy Chair of the Index on Censorship Board of Trustees. She is a critic, columnist, and scholar. She is currently working towards the complesion of a PhD which examines the intellectual life of Elizabeth I, through the prism of her accomplished translations of Latin poetry, her own poems and recently attributed letters, and her representation as a learned queen by writers such as Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney.
ko ko thett started publishing poems in samizdat format at Yangon Institute of Technology in the early 1990s. After a brush with the authorities in the December 1996 protests, he left Burma, led an itinerant life in Asia, Europe and North America and moved back to Myanmar in 2017. He has published several collections of poems and translations in Burmese and English. His poems have been translated into a dozen languages and are widely anthologised. He now lives in Norwich, UK.
Dr Choman Hardi is an educator, poet, and scholar known for pioneering work on issues of gender and education in the Kurdistan region of Iraq and beyond. After 26 years of exile, she returned home in 2014 to teach English and initiate gender studies at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), where she also served as English department chair in 2015-16. She is the author of critically acclaimed books in the fields of poetry, academia, and translation. Since 2010, poems from her first English collection, Life for Us (Bloodaxe, 2004) have been studied by secondary school students in the UK as part of their English curriculum. Her second collection, Considering the Women (Bloodaxe, 2015), was given a Recommendation by the Poetry Book Society and shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection. Her translation of Sherko Bekas’ Butterfly Valley (ARC, 2018) won a PEN Translates Award.
Come by the Library to try out our interactive map that can be accessed by computer or scanning a QR Code on your mobile device, which leads you to a world map where you can find Banned Books throughout the world. In addition, the resource guide “Banned Books: Defending Our Freedom to Read” by Robert P. Doyle (2017), which was used in making this map, will be available for you to browse and find additional banned and challenged books.
Hosted by “Wolfson Campus” both virtually and in-person
Library – Room 1216
300 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33132
Where in The World Are Books Banned? Interactive Map
Calling all fans of controversial reads! Come join us for an hour of online trivia as we celebrate Freedom to Read Week! Test your knowledge of banned and challenged books.
You can have as many participants on your team as you like, but only one person will share responses per team. Only 10 “teams” may register.
This program will be provided by Mint Hill library staff and is recommended for teens and adults.
How to Join an Online Program
This event takes place on Zoom. Please register for the event by 4 PM on September 24th. You’ll receive an email with a link to the secure Zoom meeting 24 hours before the meeting.
Can you guess why certain books are challenged or banned? Learn more about the reasons people try to ban books with the West Florida Public Libraries Banned Books Week virtual quiz!
Take the quiz here!