Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Bill Cosby’s Little Bill Series in ALA’s Most Banned Books List

Little Bill is a highly imaginative five-year-old who lives with his parents, siblings, and great grandmother. He is very fond of Elephant, his pet hamster, and keeps talking to him all the time.

Bill Cosby, the creator of Little Bill, has written an entire series of children's picture books based on the adventures of this character. The series have also been converted into a children's cartoon series for Nick Jr. and aired on CBS right from 1999 to 2005. The TV series has bagged impressive awards such as the Emmy Awards in 2003 and 2004 and the Peabody Award in 2001.

Here are some quick facts about the Little Bill books:

·         Bill Cosby, actor and comedian, launched the series in 1997.
·         Parents, educators, and caregivers praised the books and said that they helped children learn how to read.
·         Oprah Winfrey supported the books by adding them to her book club.
·         While confirming that parents are challenging the books, the American Library Association (ALA) said that nothing is wrong with their contents.
·         Although the content is suitable for child readers, the Little Bill series have found their way into the ALA's list of 2016's most-banned books.

So why have parents started challenging the Little Bill series? 

The books are now in the ninth place in ALA's most banned book list because of "criminal sexual allegations against the author." It is the first time a book series has been challenged not for of its content, but because of its author.

James LaRue, the director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, said: "I think it's our fascination with celebrity. If we love the person we love everything about him. If we hate the person, we hate everything about him. We don't seem to be able to separate the message from the messenger."

Several women have accused Cosby of sexual assault and he is currently facing trial at a court in Pennsylvania over sexual assault allegations from one of them.
The ALA has drawn up its list of most-banned books on the basis of challenges that were reported to it last year by school libraries all over the country. Parents and students challenge books and request school principals to remove them from the library. Sometimes, libraries do not report successful challenges to the ALA.

Recently, books featuring transgender people, gays and lesbians, and racial minorities have been challenged a lot. LaRue says: "Critics of this list say no book is banned in America and I beg to differ. If a book is removed, it's been banned."