Friday, March 15, 2024

My proposal for the back cover of "Thirty Minutes Over Oregon"

By my request, the back covers of both Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman and Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman had only one line:

I wanted to keep that going with Thirty Minutes Over Oregon: A Japanese Pilot's World War II Story.

Though in this case my proposal was two lines, it had a similar effect:

In 1941, the surprise Japanese attack on Hawaii brought America into World War II. 
In 1942, the Japanese pilot Nobuo Fujita brought World War II into America.

But I was vetoed:

I love the image and it is a mysterious contrast to the war scene of the cover (which stokes curiosity), but I still visit the alternate universe where my suggestion came to pass.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Northside ISD was WRONG to cancel author Marc Tyler Nobleman

Welcome school principals, school librarians, and PTA members!

If you are here because you searched “marc nobleman author visit” or “marc nobleman school visit” or “marc tyler nobleman author visit” or “marc tyler nobleman school visit,” your results probably also included a paywalled article with this headline:

Northside ISD is a Texas school district.

The article was written by Nancy Preyor-Johnson and published on 10/6/23 in the San Antonio Express-News.

Nancy did not hear my talk.

The article is wrong.

Northside ISD was wrong to cancel my author visit. 

Rather than judge me based on only that one Texas headline, please read this (or at least skip to the Northside educator tweets at the end):

I went to do school visits in Northside ISD in good faith and treated all with respect, as I have at hundreds of other schools in 30+ states and almost 20 countries over the past 20 years.

I gave the same talk I’ve given hundreds of other times.

Three examples of the kind of reaction I typically get:

“In my almost three decades of teaching, I have heard a wide variety of internationally known authors, many of them award recipients. Marc was easily the most engaging and inspiring presenter I have ever heard. He held the rapt attention of the entire auditorium—students and staff alike. He is such a gift!”
—Adrienne DeMichele, Taipei American School, Taiwan

“My principal and almost every teacher said this was the best assembly they have ever attended. Educational value? 5 out of 5 stars. Entertainment value? 5 out of 5 stars. Marc’s amazing story kept an entire room of students and teachers enthralled for an hour with no special effects or tricks.”
—Jamie Harris, librarian, Smalley Elementary, Las Vegas, NV

“I have known Marc for eight years and I can tell you with complete honesty that he is the best, the very best, in inspiring children. He is able to empathize with them (and adults, also) to an incredible degree. As a matter of fact, he becomes a role model for many of them. One fifth grader wrote in his evaluations, ‘Mr. Nobleman’s name fits him. He is a noble man.’ His books have the same kind of integrity. I cannot recommend him highly enough.”
—Susie Mee, Director, Authors Read Aloud (a Learning Leaders program), New York, NY

My talk lasts 60 minutes.

In that talk, I say that someone was gay. One time.

I also refer to straight marriages. Multiple times.

I was scheduled to speak at Northside schools for 10 days. 

The first nine days went great. 

Except for the two parents who contacted their school because I said “gay.”

Neither had heard my talk, read my books, seen my documentary, or met me.

Yet their complaint pressured Northside into giving me a choice: leave out the word “gay” on day 10 or there is no day 10. 

Whether my presentation was censored or cancelled, it would shortchange the kids. Ultimately I felt that the best way to stand up for those kids would be to stick to my principles.

So there was no day 10.

The kids were disappointed. School staff was disappointed. I was heartbroken.

But the people who truly suffered were the LBGTQ members of the Northside ISD community. Northside ISD’s action signals to them that their very existence is taboo to mention. Northside ISD made them feel unwanted and unsafe.

Northside ISD was wrong to cancel my author visit. 

Northside ISD prioritized the ignorance of two adults over the enrichment of hundreds of kids.

Northside ISD was wrong to cancel my author visit. 

Because two adults thought kids should not hear the word “gay,” those kids also did not hear a jaw-dropping story of persistence. They did not hear about the adventure of primary research, the thrill of reading, the calling of speaking up for others, and the imperative to give credit where it’s due. 

Northside ISD was wrong to cancel my author visit. 

But hopefully a message from my story did trickle down to at least some NISD day 10 kids from enlightened NISD educators and parents: when you have to choose between siding with the tolerant or the intolerant, there is no choice. 

Northside ISD was wrong to cancel my author visit. 

In closing, here are reactions to my talks from NISD educators (i.e. people who did hear me present and who have the best interest of the kids at heart):