The Little Red Schoolbook

“Nearly all the changes in which you’re allowed to participate are in things which aren’t very important. The real and difficult changes are those which give more and more people power to decide more and more things for themselves”

For those who don’t know Speechification, it’s an excellent little blog for fans of speech radio, podcasting the best bits of the UK’s Radio 4, and occasional things from the rest of the world. I’m one of the contributors, and I’ve just posted a 30 minute documentary that Bookkake readers will probably enjoy.

The Little Red Schoolbook, translated from the Dutch Danish and published in 1971, advised children about sex, drugs and how to assert their rights at school. It was subsequently banned in the UK as an obscene publication, but continued to be distributed by radical groups, becoming something of a cause celebre in the process. Wikipedia has more references on the history of the book – and you can pick up a copy on Abe, should you so desire. There’s also another good resource on the history of this fascinating little book here. Enjoy!

Posted January 9, 2009 | Comments (5).

Banned Books

If you’re not aware already, this week is the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week, which seeks to draw attention to the freedom to read and “reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted.” Of course, this is a warning we should all heed – as the example of Bookkake’s Fanny Hill demonstrates.

Fanny Hill remains one of the most famous cases of censorship in British – and indeed American – history, and Sean Walsh details the beginnings of its troubles in his introduction to the book – alongside details of Jacobite sex clubs, and Eighteenth century sex panic and blood fixations. It was Fanny Hill that was at the centre of Memoirs v. Massachusetts, a landmark 1966 Supreme Court case that finally put the decade-old Roth ruling for obscenity to the test.

John Mark Ockerbloom has a great post on Why Banned Book Week Matters over at the Everybody’s Libraries blog, and the Guardian is also running a reasonably enlightening Banned Books Quiz to test your knowledge.

Image from florian.b’s Flickr stream, under Creative Commons.

Posted September 30, 2008 | Comments (2).

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