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School bans Cory Doctorow novel, he gives 200 copies to students in response

Cory Doctorow aka Mad Hatter
Cory Doctorow aka Mad Hatter
By Joi [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, Fla. had planned a summer reading program that included Cory Doctorow's young adult novel, Little Brother. The book was selected by the librarian and approved by the administration before the principal learned about it. The principal was apparently put off by the book's endorsement of hacker culture and questioning authority.

Author Neil Gaiman wrote in his blog, "I'd recommend Little Brother over pretty much any book I've read this year, and I'd want to get it into the hands of as many smart 13 year olds, male and female, as I can."

The story is about teenage hackers who honed their skills hacking for sport but get swept up into the U.S. surveillance state as the result of a terrorist attack. It speaks a lot to something that has been kept too quiet in the media and encourages a level of critical thinking that is generally discouraged in our nation's youth. You can imagine how an activist such as Cory Doctorow might take such a strike against both himself and the abstract concept of freedom of thought.

Doctorow worked with his publisher, Tor, to get 200 copies of Little Brother into the hands of Booker T. Washington High School students for free. He is also making the book available for free download on

The lesson learned here is simple, if you want to experiment with censorship, don't mess with BoingBoing.