Omni Spurs Protests Against Censorship

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One year after Omni magazine invited its readers to sign a sharply worded appeal to President Reagan protesting attempts to censor science textbooks, responses were still coming in "on a daily basis," the magazine reports.

More than 38,000 such appeals--in the form of postcards bound into the February 1987 issue--had been returned to the magazine as of last month, according to a statement by Omni's president, Kathy Keeton.

The magazine, in turn, has forwarded all of the signed cards to Mr. Reagan, along with a copy of the special issue on "Science and Censorship."

In that issue, an article by an Omni staff writer, Kathleen Stein, described efforts by advocates of creationism to alter school texts dealing with evolution. Essays by the Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann, the author Stephen King, and the television producer Norman Lear denounced moves to ban certain books from schools or otherwise restrict curricula.

The postcard to the President charged that "right-wing religious zealots aided and abetted by elements of your own Administration" were seeking to impose censorship.

"If such efforts are allowed to succeed," it said, "American education will recede into the Dark Ages. ..."

The American Library Association has named this year's winners of the annual John Newbery and Randolph Caldecott Medals, two of the most prestigious awards for children's books.

Russell Freedman received the Newbery Medal for Lincoln: A Photobiography (Clarion Books/Ticknor & Fields). The award is intended to honor the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children during the previous year.

C. John Schoenherr won the Caldecott Medal, which recognizes the illustrator of the year's most distinguished American picture book for children. He was cited for Owl Moon by Jane Yolen (Philomel Books/Putnam).

Two other books--After the Rain by Norma Fox Mazer (William Morrow & Company) and Hatchet by Gary

Paulsen (Bradbury Press/Macmillan)--were named Newbery honor books.

And Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, written and illustrated by John Steptoe (Lothrop, Lee & Shepard/Morrow), was named a Caldecott honor book.

In a related announcement, the ala's Young Adult Services Division has released its list of "Best Books for Young Adults" for 1987.

Designed to appeal to a broad range of interests and ages, the selection of 81 titles recommended for teen-agers includes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photographic essays.

The list, along with annotations, is available in a pamphlet at a cost of $20 for 100 copies from ala Graphics, American Library Association, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, Ill. 60611. For a single copy, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope with 50 cents to the ala's Young Adult Services Division.

Barron's Educational Series is launching two projects designed to boost the programs of Reading Is Fundamental.

From May 1 through Oct. 1, the Long Island-based publisher of educational materials will sponsor a contest offering children who participate in rif programs a chance to win one of two $10,000 college scholarships.

And for every copy of its guide How To Prepare for the sat that is sold in the United States between Aug. 1 and Dec. 31, the firm has pledged to donate 10 cents to rif, a nonprofit organization that motivates children to read by making books more accessible to them.

To enter the contest, open to students in grades 7 through 12, children will be asked to read five books and write a brief statement about what they learned that might help them in the future. For each additional five books they read, students may write another statement and enter the contest again.

The scholarship winners will be selected in a random drawing.

Barron's will mail entry forms and information to schools participating in
rif projects. The contest may involve as many as 250,000 students and 2,000 projects, according to Nancy Sullivan, director of special projects for rif.

Young American, a newspaper for children, plans to begin nationwide distribution in September.

After four years of testing in Portland, Ore., the biweekly publication expanded its distribution in January to include the San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Sacramento, Calif.

The publication, financed by advertising, is distributed free of charge to school systems and, as an insert, to daily newspapers.

Young American is designed to capture and maintain the interest of young readers while contributing to their development as discerning reading adults, according to its founder and publisher, Michael Forzley.

The paper features news, science, entertainment, sports, and games.

"What makes Young American unique," said Allen Dobbins, the publication's educational director, "is that we look like a newspaper, we feel like a newspaper, and, unlike any other children's publication, we read like a newspaper."

"The only difference between Young American and, say, USA Today," he said, "is that our articles on the inf treaty were written for children."

Multicultural Leader, a quarterly newsletter focusing on educational equity and multicultural education, has published its first issue.

The 16-page Winter 1988 issue appeared in January.

Its publisher, Educational Materials and Services Center, is a for-profit organization created to provide information to educators and service agencies concerning gender equity, ethnic studies, minority groups, and special populations.

Each issue of the newsletter will include essays, summaries of news and research, and book reviews.

The subscription rate is $35 for four issues; inquiries should be addressed to Educational Materials and Service Center, 144 Railroad Ave., Suite 107, Edmonds, Wash. 98020.


Vol. 07

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