Groundbreaking children’s authors headline Freedom to Read Foundation/GLBTRT Boston event

Contact: Jonathan Kelley

Program Coordinator

Freedom to Read Foundation

(312) 280-4226

For Immediate Release

October 30, 2009

CHICAGO – Leslea Newman (“Heather Has Two Mommies”) and Michael Willhoite (“Daddy’s Roommate”) will discuss and sign copies of their groundbreaking books at the Freedom to Read Foundation’s (FTRF) fifth annual author event, to be held in conjunction with ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table Midwinter Social.

The event will be on Sunday, Jan. 17 at the Havard Medical School's Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck St. as part of ALA’s 2010 Midwinter Meeting in Boston. Doors open at 6 p.m., GLBTRT’s Stonewall Book Award Ceremony will begin at 7 p.m., and the authors will speak and sign books beginning at 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be provided. Donations will be accepted at the door to cover costs and support the FTRF’s Conable Scholarship Fund, and the GLBTRT is conducting a book drive of “useful and current” titles for GLBT youth to donate to the
Boston GLASS Community Center.

“Heather Has Two Mommies” and “Daddy’s Roommate” have been two of the most frequently challenged books in the U.S. since they were published 20 years ago. They were among the first children’s books to focus on gay and lesbian parents and have been challenged (jointly and separately) innumerable times, including during the well-publicized “Rainbow Curriculum” controversy in New York City. They were also the subject of a Freedom to Read Foundation court case in Wichita Falls, Texas, in which a federal court overturned a law allowing the “banning by petition” of those books and others.

Newman is the author of 57 books for adults and children. She is currently the poet laureate of Northampton, Mass. A resident of Rhode Island, Willhoite has written and illustrated several other children’s books, including “Daddy’s Wedding” and “Uncle What-Is-It is Coming to Visit!!”

The Freedom to Read Foundation, an affiliated organization of the American Library Association, was founded in 1969 to promote and defend the right of individuals to freely express ideas and to access information in libraries and elsewhere. FTRF fulfills its mission through the disbursement of grants to individuals and groups, primarily for the purpose of aiding them in litigation, and through direct participation in litigation dealing with freedom of speech and of the press.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Round Table of the American Library Association is committed to serving the information needs of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered professional library community, and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered information and access needs of individuals at large. GLBTRT is committed to encouraging and supporting the free and necessary access to all information, as reflected by the missions of the American Library Association and democratic institutions.