Public Library Considers Challenge to Book: Will Decide Whether to Ban Memoir in Author's Hometown

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The Woonsocket Harris Public Library Trustees consider a Challenge to Ban a book by an Author born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

The Woonsocket Public Library Trustees met December 2nd to consider a request to ban "It Stops with Me: Memoir of a Canuck Girl" written by native Woonsocket Author Artist Charleen Touchette.

A citizen request to ban "It Stops with Me" was made at the Library Trustees' September meeting.

The Library Trustees removed the book from the Woonsocket Harris Public Library shelves after the September meeting pending a decision.

They agreed to read the memoir and make a decision on whether to censor "It Stops with Me" at their December meeting.

"It Stops with Me: Memoir of a Canuck Girl", the latest work by author-artist Charleen Touchette, invites you into the provincial world of a French Canadian girl in Rhode Island who cannot tell anybody her family secrets. She escapes home for Wellesley College at seventeen - then her world opens up when she leaves Wellesley for Bard College, falls in love, becomes an artist, and moves to New York City where she hobnobs with artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, connects with Indian artists and is embraced by her lover's warm Jewish family of Canadian expatriates in Minnesota. She moves to Indian Country on her spiritual path and continues to focus on women's and Native art issues and activism.

Years later when she has her first daughter she must relive her childhood to heal the future generations of her family.

This compelling story reaches out to people of all backgrounds and ages with a message of healing. Charleen reclaims her ancestors and finds herself woven deep within a culture where women are the cornerstone of the home and also powerful healers and storytellers. The book contains selections of nearly three decades of the artist's work, including a color series depicting her life as a girl in Woonsocket. "It Stops with Me" is similar to Hadyn Herrera's biography of Frida Khalo, with its ninety-one pages of black and white art and thirty-two pages of color art.

"It Stops with Me: Memoir of a Canuck Girl" is a manifesto in twenty-first century feminist thought and a spellbinding trip through the imagination of a young girl who becomes a remarkable woman despite insurmountable odds.

Author Charleen Touchette is a member of the Author's Guild, and a full member of P.E.N., U.S.A., and P.E.N., Southwest. P.E.N. advocates for the freedom to write worldwide.

"It Stops with Me" has been praised by authors Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Louise Erdrich, Margaret Randall, Ana Pacheco, and Winona LaDuke, and received a Foreword Book of the Year 2004 Finalist Award.

"beautiful book." Lawrence Ferlinghetti, City Lights Books

"This book is incredible." Louise Erdrich

"Tough, evocative, border-crossing, honest, unflinching,...large enough so it can embrace its readers." Margaret Randall, P.E.N. Lifetime Achievement Awardee

"magnificent in its courage and decency." Sam Ballen, author "Without Reservations"

"An emotion-charged story of initial struggle and ultimate success...a must in any library collection." (Book Wire)

Some recent reviews of "It Stops with Me".

Reviewer Jennifer Lefkowitz chose "It Stops with Me" as the Book Special for "Girlfriends Magazine" November 2005 issue.

"Charleen Touchette's memoir is healing and cathartic, a story of survival and triumph as a victim of childhood abuse. The author is an artist, and throughout the book she showcases her paintings, which resemble the work of painter Frida Kahlo. Like Kahlo, Touchette survived vehicle collisions; after a spine injury she is able to connect her past to her present. This compelling memoir dives into the dark trenches of that past, confronting memories with ancient practices. "I learned it is the task of all human beings to cut through the fog and illusion of maya, and reconnect with the light." A - Jennifer Lefkowitz

"It Stops With Me" is good all round reading for book lovers. While the emotional reader is bound to sympathize with the trauma that the author faces in her earlier days and to triumph in her determination that children would no longer be abused in her family, art lovers would be impressed by the high quality of her works presented in the book especially the color illustrations that bring out her father's character. It is a must in any library collection."

BookWire Review

“It Stops With Me is the autobiography of artist, writer, curator, educator and activist Charleen Touchette. Narrating a life steeped in traditions of both French Canadian and Indian cultures, but also darkened by the legacies of anger, alcoholic rages, and violence, It Stops With Me tells of one woman's journey from girlhood to motherhood, to being debilitated by an illness that compels her to face the dark memories of her past. A captivating and sober memoir of a difficult and varied life.” (Midwest Book Review).

“Throughout the autobiography, her French heritage is front and center, even when she embraces the peace of Judaism.

Many of the book's chapters are charmingly led by simple French titles.

Touchette's talent as a creative writer moves the reader beyond the dark side of her autobiography. Using the power of words, she inspires us to learn more about her as an individual woman with a spellbinding story to tell. Touchette does a good job explaining the pros and cons of the personal contrasts she inherited from her religious and ethnic roots. This is a well written autobiography, nominated for book awards, with a progressive social focus.” (Juliane L’Heureux, Portland Press Herald)

Contact:

Jacques Paisner, Editor

# 505 470-2411

TouchArt Books

P.O. Box 4009

Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502

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