SINGAPORE: National Library Board Bans Three Children's Books Containing Allusions to Same Sex Couples

A mother reading one of the three banned books, And Tango Makes Three, during the Let’s Read Together event, a reading event held in response to the National Library Board’s (NLB) decision to remove the titles. Photo courtesy the Straits Times

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On July 8, 2014, Singapore’s National Library Board (NLB) pulled three children’s books, Who’s In My Family: All About Our Families, And Tango Makes Three, and The White Swan Express, in response to complaints that the books do not “promote family values.” PEN Center USA is alarmed by this brazen censorship and calls upon the National Library Board to immediately reinstate these titles and pledge to never again remove or censor controversial works.
 
All three books were removed for their allusions to same sex couples. Asked to justify their actions, the NLB responded, “Young children are among our libraries’ most frequent visitors. Many of them browse books in our children’s sections on their own. As such, NLB takes a pro-family and cautious approach in identifying titles for our young visitors.(1)
 
On July 13, 2014, some 400 protesters gathered to demand an end to this wrongheaded and needless censorship.(2) PEN Center USA stands with Singaporeans fighting for their universal right to free and unrestricted access to information, knowledge, and literature. Please join us in urging the NLB to reinstate these books as soon as possible by signing the petition below and sharing this issue with your community.
 

 

 

The period for signing this petition is now over.