BEA Events Spotlight Free Speech Rights of Kids

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Attacks on the free speech rights of children will be the focus of two events on Wednesday, May 25, at BookExpo America.

From 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., bestselling authors Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak, Twisted) and Robie Harris (It’s Perfectly Normal, It’s So Amazing!) will join Pat Scales, a defender of free speech in libraries for more than 30 years, for “Book Banning 2011: A Report From the Front Lines of the Battle for Free Speech.” The discussion, to be moderated by Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship, will explore the perilous state of kids’ right to read at a time when there are hundreds of challenges to books in schools and libraries every year. The program, in Room 1E12 of New York’s Javits Convention Center, is open to all BEA attendees.  Sponsors of the event are the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE), the Association of American Publishers, the Freedom to Read Foundation, and PEN American Center.

From 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on May 25, the children’s book industry will demonstrate its support for kids’ right to read during the ABC Children’s Group Children’s Silent Auction and Reception at the Javits Center. Proceeds from the sale of more than 100 works by leading artists and illustrators will be donated to the American Bookseller Foundation for Free Expression’s Fund for Free Speech in Children’s Books. Laurie Halse Anderson is the honorary chair of the event.

Tickets for the auction and reception are $89 ($69 for bookseller members of the ABC Children’s Group) and can be purchased here. A preview of the art being auctioned is available online now.

The children’s art auction is not only an opportunity to buy wonderful art but a chance for booksellers, librarians, publishers, authors, illustrators, and other industry professionals to socialize with friends from around the country. Light refreshments, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks will be served. Music will be provided by The Sweet Remains, a band whose three-part harmonies have been compared to Crosby, Stills, and Nash and The Eagles. The Sweet Remains appears courtesy of Putumayo World Music.

Tickets may sell out prior to BEA. If not, they can be purchased during a preview of auction artwork in the Crystal Pavilion of the Javits Center on Tuesday, May 24, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tickets purchased onsite will be $99 ($79 for ABC Children’s Group members).