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Yup. You read that right. According to a new law in the UK, all children's book authors who visit schools to do readings or work with students will have to submit their names to a national database that aims to protect children from pedophiles. The Vetting and Barring Scheme (VBS), which goes into effect on October 12, will force all adults who intend to visit and interact with school children to register and they'll have to pay a $105 fee for the privilege of doing so.
According to CarnalNation.com, many famous children's book authors, including Phillip Pullman of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Anne Fine, Anthony Horowitz, and Quentin Blake, are boycotting school visits as a result of the new law. Pullman says, "This reinforces the culture of suspicion, fear and mistrust that
underlies a great deal of present-day society. It teaches children that
they should regard every adult as a potential murderer or rapist." Anne Fine, who is the Children's Laureate for the UK, says:
No word on whether or not J.K. Rowling plans to submit to the VBS but we certainly hope not. We're all for protecting kids but we're also for common sense, something the British government apparently had in short supply when they passed the policy.