Book by Steffens, Bradley, Buggey, Joanne
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Free Speech presents contrasting views on the title's topic in a pro/con format, allowing the reader to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of each argument. Like other books in the Opposing Viewpoints Juniors series, Free Speech includes margin notes that teach a specific critical thinking skill. The skill taught in Free Speech is learning to identify propaganda techniques. Regarding this format, The Horn Book, Inc. commented: "The interactive texts offer opposing viewpoints about elections and freedom of speech, with the aim of teaching readers how to judge the views presented."
Writing for School Library Journal, Pamela K. Bomboy of Chesterfield County Public Schools, Virginia, offered this evaluation of the book:
Free Speech: Identifying Propaganda Techniques. 36 p. (Opposing Viewpoints Juniors Series). reprods. further reading. index. CIP. Greenhaven. 1992. PLB. $10.95. ISBN 0-89908-098-7. LC 92-23594. Gr. 6-9 This series entry discusses the different viewpoints about the limits of free speech and issues of censorship. Propaganda techniques and various perspectives are explored. Critical thinking activities are included to help readers discern facts from opinions.... Discussion questions and editorial cartoons are designed to guide readers in analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating issues. The list of further reading is excellent and organizations to contact are given. A book that will be useful in government classes and in teaching the formal debate format.--May 1992
My evenhanded treatment of the viewpoints supporting both free speech and censorship differentiates this book from others on this topic. I have found that the vast majority of books for children that examine First Amendment issues are strongly biased in favor of free speech. This is not surprising, of course, since authors--not prosecutors or judges--write most children's books. Nevertheless, I find the bias disturbing, especially in writings that purport to champion the cause of free and open debate. By excluding pro-censorship arguments from their books, the authors of biased works are guilty of the practice they condemn. By failing to give both sides of the argument, they deny young readers the opportunity develop their critical thinking skills. They also mislead their readers, since the United States Supreme Court has carved out numerous exceptions the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.
The right to free speech can only be secured through a body of law that places limits on human behavior, including limits on speech. As Justice Felix Frankfurter put it in his concurring opinion in Dennis v. United States (1951):
Freedom of expression is the well-spring of our civilization--the civilization we seek to protect and maintain and further by recognizing the right of Congress to put some limitation upon expression. Such are the paradoxes of life.
I have tried to convey the essence of this paradox in the contrasting viewpoints that make up Free Speech.
Bradley Steffens is the author of twenty-one nonfiction books for children and young adults, coauthor of seven, and editor of the 2004 anthology, The Free Speech Movement.A former columnist for Gig magazine and the former editor of The Foundation magazine, published by Qatar Foundation in Doha, Qatar, Steffens has contributed dozens of articles to publications around the world, including Velvet Magazine (UAE), Discovery Channel Magazine (Singapore), QScience Review (Qatar), and the Los Angeles Times (USA).He is a two-time recipient of the San Diego Book Award for Best Young Adult & Children's Nonfiction. His Giants won the 2005 award and his People in the News: J.K. Rowling garnered the 2007 prize. J.K. Rowling also received the Theodor S. Geisel Award for the best published book by a San Diego County author in 2007.
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Book Description Greenhaven Pr, 1992. Library Binding. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110899080987