Turkey rules ‘Rebel Girls’ children’s book be treated as porn
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Turkey rules ‘Rebel Girls’ children’s book be treated as porn

Banning sale to under-18s, Istanbul says feminist bestseller could have a ‘detrimental influence’ on young people

A copy of 'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls'. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)
A copy of 'Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls'. (Raoul Wootliff/Times of Israel)

ISTANBULTurkey — Turkey has ruled that million-selling book “Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls” should be partially banned and treated like pornography because it could have a “detrimental influence” on young people.

The book, which has been published in 47 languages, offers a series of inspiring stories about women from history for young children.

But in a decision published last week, the Turkish government’s board for the protection of minors from obscene publications said: “Some of the writings in the book will have a detrimental influence on the minds of those under the age of 18.”

That means it can only be sold to over-18s and must be concealed from view in shops.

Speaking to AFP on Friday, one of the authors, US-based Francesca Cavallo, said she was saddened by the decision.

“Girls deserve to grow up surrounded by more female role models. They deserve to grow up thinking that they can be anything they want,” she said.

“When a government is scared by a children’s book promoting equality, that means that promoting these messages through children’s literature can have and is having an impact, and it makes me even more motivated to keep fighting every day.”

The book has been a publishing phenomenon since emerging in 2016 from one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns ever, spawning sequels, spinoffs and many copycats.

The only difficulty it has faced up to now was Russia’s decision to censor the story of a transgender girl that is one of the profiles in the book, Cavallo said.

The Turkish publishers’ association released a statement this week, saying the government decision was “a danger from the perspective of freedoms of expression and press, and a threat to the principles of a democratic society.”

The book’s Turkish publisher told AFP they were waiting for the decision to be officially communicated to them before commenting.

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