I read this on

‘s blog. It’s important enough to pass along. My other post is about the people I’m thankful for, but first, I’d like to say I’m thankful that Ritchie Partington had the nerve to ask a principal to actually read.  If anyone has anymore details about this case, please comment.

A day after informing the District Superintendent that he saw no reason to meet with the principal who had banned a highly-regarded children’s book — until the principal had actually read the book that he had banned — Sebastopol librarian and author Richie Partington was fired from his position as Library Consultant to the Bellevue Union School District in Santa Rosa, California.

Partington, a part-time member of the faculty in San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science, and author of the popular children’s book review website Richie’s Picks, expressed his shock and disappointment over what had happened. “Last week I was booktalking at District schools and literally had students fighting over who would first get to read the books I was presenting. The administrators must have thought that there must be something wrong with the books if the students wanted to read them so badly.”

The book in question is, ironically, about a young hero in a society where nobody reads anymore. Rodman Philbrick’s The Last Book in the Universe has been selected for inclusion by the American Library Association on its list for adolescents of “100 Best of the Best Books for the 21st Century” and has been subsequently nominated for numerous state children’s book awards.

Partington, who is active in the American Library Association, had recently been appointed as one of fifteen librarians in the country to serve on the committee that will read thousands of new 2008 picture books and determine the winner of the ALA’s prestigious Caldecott Medal.

Partington is best known for his reviews of soon-to-be-published books for children and adolescents that are regularly distributed to more than 8,000 librarians, teachers, and publishing executives worldwide and archived on his website at http://richiespicks.com. He is also known for having initiated in Sebastopol the nation’s first No Name-Calling Week, which was based upon events in a children’s book by James Howe titled The Misfits. No Name-Calling Week subsequently became a nationally-commemorated annual event with nearly half a million school children across America participating in last year’s observance. (See http://www.nonamecallingweek.org/cgi-bin/iowa/home.html)

Richie Partington, MLIS
Richie’s Picks http://richiespicks.com
Moderator, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/middle_school_lit/
[email protected]

Caldecott ’09