Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
The classic play about a girl who washes ashore after a shipwreck and disguises herself as a boy was banned in a New Hampshire school system by a rule titled "prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction," which means that teachers in the district are forbidden from discussing homosexuality in the classroom. The plotline in which Viola, dressed as a boy, falls in love with Duke Orsino was deemed inappropriate.
Little Red Riding Hood by Charles Perrault
The fairy tale of a little girl who is led astray by a wolf while on the way to her grandmother’s house was banned by two California school districts because one of the refreshments for her grandmother that Little Red Riding Hood carried in her basket was wine.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Frank L. Baum’s classic story about a girl and her friends traveling through the mystical land of Oz came under fire for its perceived socialist values, but it was also banned because it described witches as good – as in Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The story of a Southern family that confronts racism in their town may seem like an inspirational tale that’s appropriate for everyone, but it was banned by one school in Minnesota for inappropriate language because the heroine Scout swears, and by a school in Texas because it "conflicted with the values of the community."
Night Shadows: Queer Horror
What scares you the most? Some of the biggest names in queer publishing come together to share tales of things that go bump in the night, murder and revenge most foul, and dark creatures that will haunt your dreams, while putting a decidedly queer twist on the literary horror genre. The fourteen stories in Night Shadows are disturbing tales of psychological terror that will continue to resonate with readers long after they finish reading these delightfully wicked stories. Don’t read these stygian tales when you’re alone — or without every light in the house burning! English, 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1602827516
Chocolatiers of the High Winds
This gay steampunk romance follows the globe-trotting adventures of young Mayport Titus, the sole scion of the Titus Chocolate fortune. Mayport’s father, an adventurer and entrepreneur, established the intercontinental chocolate trade using sugar from India, cacao from South America, and a factory in New Amsterdam, before he and his wife were lost when their airship went down over the ocean and left Mayport orphaned. Now determined to make his own way in the world, Mayport attempts to resurrect his father’s old airship, The Dutch Process, with the help of Thiervy, an intimate school friend who happens to be both a pilot and an engineer. Together Mayport and Thiervy not only rebuild the ship, and revolutionize the moribund chocolate industry, they bring a new way of doing things to the world. English, 332 pages, ISBN: 78-1613900505
For Colored Boys
For Colored Boys, addresses issues like sexual abuse, suicide, HIV & Aids, racism, and homophobia in the African American and Latino communities, and more specifically among young gay men of colour. The book tells stories of real people coming of age, coming out, dealing with religion, seeking love and relationships, finding their own identity in or out of the LGBT community, and creating their own sense of political empowerment. For Colored Boys is designed to educate and inspire those seeking to overcome their own obstacles in their own lives. English, 300 pages, ISBN: 978-1936833153
Rarely has a book for young adults been so eagerly anticipated as Tricks of the Trade, the third book by the popular young author Floortje Zwigtman. She understands better than anyone else that adolescents aren’t looking for a neat book of instructions for the future. These are stories that tell it like it is, historical novels about surviving in conditions where the laws and morals of polite society no longer seem to apply.
Adrian Mayfield is born in the poor East End of Victorian London, the son of a pub landlord and a seamstress. However, a different career lies in store for him. It’s not a scenario that the street-hardened lad could have envisaged: a wealthy older gentleman falls in love with him and takes him home. The man is Augustus Trops, a second-rate artist from Flanders. He introduces Adrian to the flamboyant circle of Oscar Wilde, where he meets other men like Augustus and finds work as an artist’s model. The work pays well and he meets the most interesting and powerful people of his time. Adrian is very pleased with his new life at first. Everything appears to be going swimmingly. Until, that is, London’s beau monde decamps to Europe for the summer holidays, as happens every year. Adrian, by now accustomed to luxury, ends up without any income.
In a male brothel he discovers the flip side of his new life in the twofaced London of the nineteenth century, where gossip, blackmail and brutal police violence make homosexuality a highly dangerous way of life. Then he faces the choice of whether to put his integrity and his friendships on the line so that he doesn’t have to live in a mouldy, cockroach-infested garret.
Tricks of the Trade is an intense book that is difficult to put down. It draws the reader in without resorting to cheap sensationalism. This is a result of Zwigtman’s unique ability to combine critical distance with open intimacy. The raw, breathtaking writing of this sharp, historical portrait really makes the reader think about life. Zwigtman is one of the great modern writers of books for young adults.
This is the first book in a series of three and was published in Dutch under the title Schijnbewegingen and in German as Ich, Adrian Mayfield. There is no English translation yet because all interested publishers asked the author to removed some of the detailed sex scenes considering the age of the target audience but Zwigtman, luckily, refused to do so.
Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is the first volume in one of the most exciting new young adult series to come along lately. Leviathan is set in an alternate steampunk past, in which the powers of the world are divided into "Clankers" who favour huge, steam-powered walking war-machines; and "Darwinists," whose hybrid "beasties" can stand in for airships, steam-trains, war-ships, and subs (they even have a giant squid/octopus hybrid called the kraken that can seize whole warships and drag them to their watery graves).
Set on the eve of WWI, the story’s two main characters are Aleks, the incognito orphan of the freshly assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (fleeing his murderous uncle Emperor Franz Josef from Austria to the safe haven of Switzerland in a liberated battle-walker); and Deryn, a Scots girl who has dressed in boys’ clothes to muster into Britain’s Darwinist air-corps and finds herself a midshipsman on the Leviathan, a floating ecosystem a quarter-mile long, made up of whales, bats, bees, six-legged hydrogen-sniffing dogs, and all manner of beasties that make her the meanest thing in the sky.
Filled with gripping air and land-battles, political intrigue and danger, science and madness, Leviathan is part Island of Dr Moreau, part Patrick O’Brien. And to top it all off, the volume is lavishly illustrated with fabulous ink-drawings of the best scenes from the book, executed in high Victorian style by Keith Thompson. Thompson also produced contrafactual propaganda maps of alternate Europe for end-papers.
Westerfeld writes gripping, relentless coming-of-age novels that are equally enjoyable by boys and girls, adults and kids, and Leviathan is no exception. Leviathan is also available as an unabridged 8-hour audiobook on DRM-free CDs for a very reasonable price. The reading is by Alan Cummings, who absolutely nails it, and the production — bed music, editing — is just superb, bringing the whole swashbuckling tale to life. [via BoinBoing]
The Earth has been attacked twice by aliens called Formics, or more popularly, Buggers, and everyone is sure a third invasion is coming. So the military embarks on a crash program to breed the ultimate military genius to lead the fleet in a pre-emptive attack against the Formic home world. These kids are trained from age 6 in an off-world facility called Battle School, and their training consists mostly of games.
Ender Wiggins may be the child they are looking for. Brilliant, compassionate, and tormented, he is better at the games than anyone has ever been. But how can they manipulate a compassionate child into wiping out an entire species, and at the same time give him the skills to do it effectively? The adults who run the school are literally out to save the world: they will stop at nothing to achieve their ends, and one small boy, or even a school full of kids, are nothing but means to that end.
For many Ender’s Game is one of the great ones, a novel of extraordinary power that is among the very best the science fiction genre has ever produced. But the are critical voices being annoyed by the “chosen child” theme resembling the birth of Jesus itself. A redditor put it this way:
“It’s pure escapist fantasy for picked-upon kids in middle school who are relatively small and weak and think they’re smarter than everyone else. When read as a kid it’s a fantastic triumph of the clever over the brutal and a story of how the entire world learns to appreciate the true worth of a seemingly ordinary little boy.
Then you reread it as an adult and see how myopic it really is. It’s not that well written, the characters are shallow, the science fiction aspects are weak and the ending is obvious a hundred pages out. […] I’m not even going to touch on the fascistic social engineering he suggests is going on in the background. Overall the book comes off as much lamer than you remember.“
Orson Scott Card, the author of Ender’s Game, is what keeps some people from buying the book. He’s a right-wing Mormon who wrote opinion pieces against same-sex marriage and demanded laws banning homosexual behaviour to stay in effect (while his young, mostly male, characters spend a good part of the book completely naked. Makes one wonder…). He also suggested that there is a conspiracy to supress publications of scientists who don’t believe in global warming.
A film is in production with 15-year-old Asa Butterfield (pictured bleow) playing Ender. But as Declan pointed out in the milkboys forums: “The release date for Ender’s Game has been pushed back to Nov. 2013. Principal photography is still ongoing and going by his tweets, [Asa] seems to be having a blast with his castmates. Also, he’s apparently got himself a girlfriend recently, a news met with much wailing and gnashing-of-teeth by 12 year-old girls on tumblr –ell oh ell.
At some point in the future you will have to ask yourself how you’re going to deal with Ender’s Game. To watch it in theaters is to directly/indirectly support Asa –which, unfortunately, also means directly/indirectly supporting Orson Scott Card the homophobe.“
"Boy or girl?" It’s the one question people feel safe asking a new mother, since it can hardly cause offence. But what if the answer isn’t straightforward? Even today, in our supposedly broad-minded age, you’d feel a bombshell had been dropped if the proud parent were to reply simply: "Both."
In Annabel, an intersex baby – one testicle, a penis, one ovary, a womb and a vagina, since you ask – is born to Jacinta. It’s 1968, and she lives in a remote Canadian hamlet with her husband, Treadway, a trapper of few words but strong principles. It is he who decides that the child will be brought up as a boy, to the eternal sorrow of Jacinta, who, unlike him, is quite capable of encompassing her baby’s male and female identities in her love. She feels she has lost a daughter, and a friend secretly christens the baby Annabel behind the minister’s back. So, with a little help from the doctors, young Wayne unwittingly starts life as a boy with, as he puts it later on, a girl curled up inside him. Read on…
The queer establishment disrupters over at the berlin-based publishing house Entartetes Leben are in the process of blessing the world with their newest baby Shallow Tourist, a sublime and sexy trip to Eastern & Central Europe, as documented by its secretive author Moot on 80 pages in full colour. The book is printed in 750 copies on 140 gram art book paper and you can order it right here.
Can’t spare the money to get these boys onto your coffee table? No prob, we wouldn’t be the socialist propaganda blog we’re being accused of making regularly if we wouldn’t share our wealth, right? All you gotta do is putting some pieces together to assemble a naked lad. No, you’re not supposed to channel Dr. Frankenstein, put those Tesla coils away!
All we’re asking you for is solving this jigsaw puzzle of a photo I snapped of one of the pages of Shallow Tourist and mail a screenshot of the completed image our way until Sunday, 10 PM Central European Time. We’ll randomly select a winner who will not only get a free copy of Shallow Tourist but also the first issue of the scandalous Breaking Boy News [Not Safe for Kittens]!
30 bucks saved, just like that… yay!
Simple things are easy to teach to kids. The question is… how do we teach ignorant adults? (To make this easier to understand: The German word “Freund” means both “friend” and “boyfriend”)
Frank’s moustache is how you know he’s dad’s extra special friend
When I was about 14 I carried a book with me everywhere for months because I just couldn’t let the protagonist go. It must have been the first time that I really fell in love with a book. Welcome to The Center of the World… A coming of age story set in a remote mountain range in Germany; Steinhöfel weaves the elegant tale of a seventeen-year-old boy named Phil. Although the novel does deal with Phil’s sexuality, it primarily illustrates his tumultuous relationship with his unconventional mother, Glass, and reclusive twin sister, Dianne. From the birth of Phil and Dianne by their teenage mother in the prologue of the story, the family occupies a large estate, called Visible, on the outskirts of a socially repressive and ultra-conservative town.
The town not only discriminates against Glass because of her promiscuous nature, but they transfer their criticisms to her two children. Therefore, throughout Phil’s childhood, he feels ostracized despite his mother’s advice to ignore the harshness of the "Little People," or the people who inhabit the town. Phil does discover refuge in the form of a young and vivacious girl named Kat, who becomes his one and only ally. However, despite Phil’s seeming acceptance of his sexuality, he does not believe that his family or his friends would approve of his relationship with a charming and attractive runner, named Nicholas, who becomes his first boyfriend. The novel is written in a first-person narrative with intermittent flashbacks that describe the roots of Phil’s personality.
Steinhöfel’s greatest accomplishment is that he portrays homosexual relationships as the equivalent of heterosexual relationships. By demonstrating that the journey toward self-discovery of a young gay man is the same as that of a young straight man, Steinhöfel shows that discriminatory views on homosexuality are completely unfounded. In addition to vividly depicting Visible’s breath taking surroundings, his crisp and graceful prose provides insight into Phil’s complex thoughts and emotions. Satisfying the reader with Phil’s self-discovery, the author does an excellent job of balancing the scales between satisfaction and misery, having and wanting. By the end of the novel, one aches with a confused combination of happiness and grief. Steinhöfel and his novel deserve every word of praise!
Banned Book Week is wrapping up, and you can bet your bottom dollar that queer titles are tops among the small-minded bigots looking to control access to literature in American schools..
“Every year, the [American Library Association] and other liberal groups use this trumped-up event to intimidate and basically silence concerned parents… the truth is, parents have every right and responsibility to object to their kids receiving sexually explicit and pro-gay literature without their permission, especially in a school setting.” – Candi Cushman, education analyst for Focus on the Family.
Yes, because everyone knows the best way to make sure kids don’t try to get their hands on something is to tell them they can’t have it.
Courtesy of the National Coalition Against Censorship, here’s a brief rundown of queer titles that the Moral Minority have tried (sometimes successfully) to remove from public libraries, schools and, in some cases, even bookstores.