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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Censorship, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Comic books and censorship in the 1940s

Comic books have long purveyed action, action, and still more action. Their plot lines do not simply progress, they are raging torrents of emotion, violence, and drama. They were a part of the mass commercialization of leisure during the twentieth century.

The post Comic books and censorship in the 1940s appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Texas School District Settles Battle Over Book Censorship

A Texas school district has changed its policy on selecting books taught in schools after a months long battle over David K. Shipler’s The Working Poor: Invisible in America.

The Highland Park school district has revised its policy how both how books are chosen, as well as how parent concerns are addressed. The Dallas Morning News has more:

Under the revised policy, staff members are required to ensure that books \"are evaluated as a whole and selected for their strengths rather than rejected for their weaknesses.\" Selections \"shall not contain excessive or gratuitous explicit sexuality, excessive or gratuitous profanity, or excessive or gratuitous graphic violence.\"

The new policy also limits how parent complaints are handled. The district will now consolidate complaints about the same work into one review. In addition, once a complaint is reviewed, the same book cannot be challenged for another three years.

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3. Literary Community Speaks Out Against the Attacks on ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Je Suis CharlieThe Satanic Verses novelist Salman Rushdie has issued a statement about the attacks on the Paris-based offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper. It was originally publicized on the English PEN website, but it has since been taken down. The Wall Street Journal has re-posted it in its entirety; here’s an excerpt:

“I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity. ‘Respect for religion’ has become a code phrase meaning ‘fear of religion.’ Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.”

Rushdie has not been the only member of the literary community to speak out on this issue. Last night, American Gods novelist Neil Gaiman revealed on Facebook that he agrees with the sentiments of Rushdie’s piece. On that same night, The Day The Crayons Quit illustrator Oliver Jeffers and Maus creator Art Spiegelman participated in a vigil in the Union Square area of New York City. (via The Huffington Post)

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4. Banned Books Through History: INFOGRAPHIC

forbiddenprintPrinterinks.com has created an infographic exploring “Banned Books Though History,” which highlights famous banned books throughout history.

The graphic spans from The Bible to The Da Vinci Code, revealing where and when each of the books on the list was banned.

We’ve embedded the full infographic after the jump. (Via Electric Literature).

(more…)

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5. PEN American Center Posts Letter Advocating For Free Speech to Sony Pictures CEO

PENThe hackers behind The Interview incident have elicited both anger and fear throughout the country. The PEN American Center has sent a letter addressed to the CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Michael Lynton, to protest against this act of censorship. The organization has posted the full piece on its website.

Besides various PEN executives and trustees, several high profile writers have also signed this note. Some of the participants include PEN president emeritus Salman Rushdie, novelist Neil Gaiman, children’s books illustrator Jules Feiffer, poet John Ashbery, and playwright Tony Kushner. Here’s an excerpt:

“PEN is appalled at the intrusive, criminal and profoundly menacing reprisals and threats that Sony Pictures has endured as a result of producing and planning to distribute The Interview. PEN has long stood with writers and creators who have suffered assaults aimed to suppress the dissemination of their ideas. We believe firmly that violence is never justified as a reaction to speech, no matter how offensive that speech may be to some.”

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6. George R.R. Martin Wants to Showcase The Interview at His Movie Theater

George R.R. Martin PhotoThe hackers behind the Interview incident have elicited both anger and fear from American moviegoers. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin (pictured, via) has publicly expressed great fury towards Sony for pulling the film from theaters.

Here’s an excerpt from Martin’s blog post: “I haven’t seen The Interview. I have no idea how good or bad a film it is…That’s not the point, though. Whether it’s the next Citizen Kane or the next Plan 9 From Outer Space, it astonishes me that a major Hollywood film could be killed before release by threats from a foreign power and anonymous hackers.”

Should The Interview ever become available, Martin has offered to showcase it at his own independent theater. Martin owns the Jean Cocteau Cinema which is based in Santa Fe, NM. What do you think? (via comicbook.com)

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7. Ban on Sending Books to Prisoners in England Ruled Unlawful

bookstack304A government ban on which prohibited prisoners in England and Wales from having family and friends send them books, has been ruled unlawful.

BBC News has more: “Mr Justice Collins said he could see “no good reason” to restrict access to books for prisoners.The Prison Service said it was a surprising judgement, and would look at how it would deal with the ruling. The legal challenge was brought by inmate Barbara Gordon-Jones, who is serving part of her life sentence at Send prison near Woking in Surrey.”

The ban began last November. Supporters of the law argued that prisoners can earn the right to buy books through the prison’s book selling program through a new ”incentives and earned privileges” regime. Authors spoke out against the ban calling it “loathsome,” and launching a Change.org petition to overturn the ban.

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8. Small Town Council in Poland Bans ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ From Playground

Winnie the Pooh 200The town council of Tuszyn, Poland have banned Winnie-the-Pooh from a local playground. The politicians who made this censorious decree first examined A.A. Milne’s famous bear when they were trying to appoint a famous character as the face of this public space.

This group found Pooh’s lack of pants and questionable gender to be offensive and “wholly inappropriate for children.” All four Winnie-the-Pooh short story collections feature illustrations by artist E. H. Shepard; Shepard’s artwork consistently depicts Pooh not wearing pants.

Here’s more from the The Independent: “The meeting of officials was sneakily recorded a councillor and leaked to local press, according to The Croatian Times. One unnamed councillor can be heard discussing Pooh’s sexuality, arguing that ‘it doesn’t wear underpants because it doesn’t have a sex’ before another, Hanna Jachimska starts criticising Winnie the Pooh author AA Milne.” (via Jezebel)

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9. ABA to Take On the Operations of the ABFFE

abfe logoThe American Booksellers Association (ABA) will handle the operations of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE).

Here’s more from the press release: “As was the case when the Association of Booksellers for Children (ABC) voted to become part of ABA in 2010 as the ABC Children’s Group, ABFFE will become a distinct group within ABA, the American Booksellers for Free Expression Group at ABA (ABFE), beginning January 1. The ABFFE board will be reconstituted as the ABFE Advisory Council.”

According to this new agreement, ABFFE President Chris Finan will be appointed group director for the ABFE. The ABA has designated all of its members as official supporters of the ABFE. Every single indie bookstore with an ABA membership will receive a sticker advocating for free speech and a subscription to a new monthly newsletter called “Free Speech Report.”

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10. Why Do Books Get Banned at Guantánamo Bay?

gitmoVICE has launched a new literary series called ​”Behind the Bars: Guantá​namo Bay, Stories From the World’s Most Notorious Prison.” The editors behind this series have posted recipes, essays, poems, satire pieces, a fable. One of the sections in this series explores the books that may have been banned from the prison library.

According to the editor’s letter, an assortment of writers, scholars, and public figures have been brought on to examine “the list of books that are reportedly banned from GTMO—including their own—and tried to figure out why.” Some of the titles that can’t be accessed at this institution include The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare, An American Slave by Frederick Douglass, and The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. The New Yorker staffer Ariel Levy looked into Frank’s famous Holocaust memoir; here’s an excerpt from her article:

“The starkest difference between the captivity of Anne Frank and those in Guantánamo Bay is that Anne Frank and her family were in hiding. It must be so surreal for those in Gitmo to know that the whole world knows they’re there. We all know and it doesn’t seem to matter. Anne and her family’s whole plight is to remain invisible, to remain secret. In that sense it’s confounding that the book is banned at Guantánamo—the family couldn’t be making any less trouble. What more could you want from a prisoner than invisibility and silence?”

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11. ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Gets Banned in Riverside Middle Schools

tfioscoverJohn Green’s The Fault in Our Stars has been banned in the middle schools within the Riverside Unified School District (based in California).

Vanity Fair reports that a parent named Karen Krueger raised a complaint against the popular young adult novel because she “felt the morbid plot, crude language, and sexual content was inappropriate for her children.” Krueger convinced a committee of educators and guardians put it to a vote which resulted in this act of censorship.

Green shared his reaction to this situation on Tumblr. He claims to feel both happy and sad; the sadness comes from a desire “to introduce the idea that human beings die to the children of Riverside, California and thereby crush their dreams of immortality.” What do you think?

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12. Rumble – Book Recommendation and Giveaway

Title: Rumble Written by: Ellen Hopkins Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books, Sept. 2014 Ages: 14+ Novel in verse Themes: bullying, gay teens, faith, religion, forgiveness, hypocrisy, ptsd, suicide, gun management Reviewed from an ARC. All opinions are my own. Opening … Continue reading

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13. Stan Lee Stars in a Banned Books Week Video

How does Stan Lee feel about censorship? In honor of Banned Books Week, the legendary comics creator participated in the virtual read-out.

In the video embedded above, Lee talks about the value of comic books and graphic novels; he firmly believes that these books cultivate a lifelong love of reading. What do you think?

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14. ‘#TeachBannedBooks’ Hashtag Sweeps Twitter

twitterOver the last few days, the #TeachBannedBooks hashtag has swept Twitter. In honor of Banned Books Week, The Huffington Post asked educators to explain why they introduce their students to certain banned books using the social media platform.

Some of the titles mentioned include The Hunger GamesThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (embedded below), and The Giver. What do you think?

@HuffPostEdu ATDPI is the only book I’ve taught that ALL kids love. Diversify the canon! #teachbannedbooks #q2lpov8 pic.twitter.com/Bzyb1bSXtq

— Rebecca Grodner (@rgrodner) September 20, 2014

 

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15. Josh Funk Endorses Band Books & Banned Books

Children’s books author Josh Funk wants to celebrated Banned Books Week by speaking out against censorship. In the video embedded above, Funk (pictured, via) endorses both “band books” and “banned books.” What are your favorite books that have received either challenges or bannings?

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16. Jeff Smith Talks About Book Banning in a Reading Rainbow Guest Post

Jeff SmithHow did comics creator Jeff Smith react when he found out the Bone series made it to the Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books?

Smith wrote about his feelings on the censorship in a guest post the Reading Rainbow website. He also talks about how much of a positive impact that reading has had on him. Here’s an excerpt:

“The worst part about my book being banned is that I hate to think of what would have happened if those Peanuts books that inspired me to become a cartoonist were taken away from me when I was a kid. I’m so grateful to have been inspired by those comics, and I’m so very lucky that I’ve had the chance to inspire other young people to try making comics of their own too.”

 

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17. Cause to celebrate?

stormcenter Cause to celebrate?If it’s time for Banned Books Week it’s also time for my annual bucket ‘o scorn for ALA’s  cynical exercise in spin. Like Bette Davis in Storm Center, “I’m tired. I’m tired and beaten. There’s no use pretending.” Now Davis, playing a beleaguered librarian trying to uphold the freedom to read in McCarthy’s America, was truly fighting the good fight (too bad she didn’t have a good script, though; the young boy driven mad by Red-baiters and setting fire to the library was a Bit Much). ALA, on the other hand, has simply set up its usual straw men in the form of its dramatic list of “top ten most frequently challenged books.” (The Association recorded 307 challenges in all but does not say how many challenges each book had.)

What bothers me most is the conflation of “banned” and “challenged.” Banned means the book has been removed from a library (or restricted therein), or–and less definitively to my mind–from a required or suggested reading list. Challenged means a citizen or group has ASKED a library in a “formal, written complaint” to restrict or remove a book from a library (or from a required or suggested reading list). There’s a big difference. Wouldn’t you like to know how many of these challenges resulted in banning? Beyond anecdotal evidence about some of them, ALA doesn’t tell us.

These “formal, written complaints” are generally done at the library’s behest on a form issued by that library as directed by its collection policy. Why do we get so bent out of shape when people actually use it? The answer is–and here’s the cynical part–that we don’t get bent out of shape at all, instead using these challenges to revel in our sense of cultural superiority and to raise a fund-raising alarum. No wonder ALA finds book banning something to “celebrate.”

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The post Cause to celebrate? appeared first on The Horn Book.

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18. Lee & Low’s Favorite Banned Books

Banned Book Week started yesterday.

For those of you who don’t know,

“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.” –American Library Association

Here at Lee & Low Books, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite banned/challenged titles (in no particular order).

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – banned for use of racial slurs and profanity.
  2. Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling – banned for depictions of witchcraft and wizardry/the occult.
  3. the absolutely true diary of a part-time indianThe Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – banned for racism, sexually explicit language, and profanity.
  4. The Kite Runner by Khaleid Hosseini– banned for depictions of homosexuality, profanity, religious viewpoints, and sexual content.
  5. Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective – banned for language and “promoting homosexuality.”
  6. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck– banned for profanity and sexual references.
  7. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’engle – banned for offensive language and use of magic.
  8. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – banned for language. a wrinkle in time
  9. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck – banned for profanity, racial slurs, and “blasphemous language”,
  10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – banned for sexual content.
  11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – banned for drug usage, sexually explicit content and unsuited to age group
  12. Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene – banned for language and racism.
  13. The Giver by Lois Lowry – banned for “religious view point, suicide, unsuited to age group, and sexually explicit content.”
  14. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – banned for “violence, sexually explicit content, and being unsuited to the age group.”
  15. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich– banned for “drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint”
  16. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler – banned for “offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group.”the earth, my butt, and other big round things

Here are some other resources for Banned Book Week:

ALA: Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st century

Banned Books that Shaped America

Book Challenges Suppress Diversity


Filed under: Book Lists by Topic, Lee & Low Likes Tagged: Banned Book Week, Book Lists by Topic, books, Censorship, diversity issues, Harper Lee

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19. Aldi Australia Pulls Roald Dahl Book From Shelves

Grocery store chain Aldi has pulled Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book Revolting Rhymes from bookshelves in its stores in Australia after a customer complained  on Facebook that the book includes the word ‘slut.’

“Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds. My Prince! she thought. He chops off heads! How could I marry anyone who does that sort of thing for fun? The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut? Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’,”  reads the nursery rhyme.

The store’s move has caused an uproar among Aldi customers, who have been commenting negatively about the censorship on the store’s Facebook page. “Is it true that you withdrew Roald Dahl’s ‘Revolting Rhymes’ (an all-time classic from one of the world’s most popular children’s authors EVER) after ONE complaint? SHAME, ALDI, SHAME!,” wrote one Facebook user. “It is on every public library shelf, and in most schools. No one HAS to read it or buy it – don’t show ignorance and weakness by depriving other customers.” (Via The Guardian).

 

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20. Canadian Prisons Are Cutting Access to Reading

002-4012Prisons across Canada are cutting back on inmate access to libraries. This unfortunate occurrence is the result of overcrowded prisons (which makes it difficult to move prisoners around) and budget cuts, which limit reading materials.

CBC News has the scoop: “Last year, the Saskatchewan Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Sask., didn’t extend a contract with the region’s library service, shutting down access for inmates. The library was open five days per week in the afternoons and evenings and inmates would borrow, on average, about 50 items per day. The program cost about $70,000 a year.”

Canadian prisoners aren’t the only inmates having issues obtaining books. British justice ministers have recently made it more difficult for prisoners in England and Wales to have family and friends send them books.

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21. Publishers Events During Banned Books Week

fafabuttonNext week is Banned Books Week and to help you celebrate, the Associate of American Publishers has put together a list of ways to participate in the celebration of censored book titles. AAP members Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster have each created a way to help readers engage in the event, whose goal it is to promote the freedom to read.

Hachette is calling readers to share how a banned book has impacted their lives on the HBG Facebook page. HarperCollins is supporting online discussion forums on Epic Reads which will encourage discussions around banned books. Macmillan has created a website dedicated to The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander and Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden, two previously banned books. Penguin Young Readers Group is encouraging readers to share selfies of themselves holding up a sign that reads, “I celebrate #BannedBooksWeek because …” and will give away prizes to participants. The publisher will also join in several #BannedBooksWeekTwitter chats during the week. (more…)

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22. Anti-Censorship Veteran Judy Platt Celebrates 35 Years With the AAP

plattrushdie

Judy Platt with Salman Rushdie, Sept 2004

Judy Platt is celebrating her 35th anniversary at The Association of American Publishers. The organization honored Platt with a lunch in DC today. As Director, Free Expression Advocacy, Platt heads up the AAP’s Freedom to Read Committee and the AAP’s International Freedom to Publish Committee.

In her tenure with the group, Platt has led the AAP’s advocacy work against book censorship since before Banned Books Week started 32 years ago. She has been the AAP’s liaison with Banned Books Weeks since the movement began. During that time, Platt has seen book censorship movements evolve.

“I’d say that  in my early years at AAP the majority of censorship was focused on sexually explicit materials, or ‘pornography’ and efforts were  made to keep such materials away from adults as well as minors on the questionable assumption that access to such materials resulted in anti-social behavior,” she told GalleyCat via email. (more…)

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23. Comics Take Center Stage For This Year’s Banned Books Week Celebration

banned-comicsThe American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression will celebrate Banned Books Week from September 21st to September 27th.

The organization plans to shine a spotlight on graphic novels and comics. Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee, had this statement in a press release: “This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship.”

The American Library Association recently revealed the top ten list of most frequently challenged books for this year. Jeff Smith’s comic series, Bone, occupies the #10 spot. Earlier this year, Smith designed the cover for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Banned Books Week Handbook. Follow this link to access a free digital copy. Check out the entire list after the jump.

(more…)

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24. Banned Books Week 2014

banned books week 2014 Banned Books Week 2014

It’s Banned Books Week! From The American Library Association’s website: “Each year, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.” Based on 307 challenges, here are the top ten most challenged books of 2013.

  1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

Here’s how the Horn Book reviewed 2013′s most challenged children’s and young adult books.

captain underpants Banned Books Week 2014The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel and sequels
by Dav Pilkey; illus. by the author
Intermediate     Blue Sky     124 pp.
09/97     0-590-84627-2     $16.95

Best friends and fellow pranksters George and Harold create a comic book superhero, Captain Underpants, and hypnotize their school principal into assuming his identity. Clad in cape and jockey shorts, Principal Krupp foils bank robbers and a mad scientist until the boys “de-hypnotize” him. Written in a tongue-in-cheek style and illustrated with suitably cartoonish drawings, the story is consistently laugh-out-loud funny. PETER D. SIERUTA
reviewed in the Spring 1998 Horn Book Guide

absolutely true diary Banned Books Week 2014star2 Banned Books Week 2014 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
by Sherman Alexie; illus. by Ellen Forney
Middle School, High School     Little     232 pp.
9/07     978-0-316-01368-0     $16.99     g

The line between dramatic monologue, verse novel, and standup comedy gets unequivocally — and hilariously and  triumphantly — bent in this novel about coming of age on the rez. Urged on by a math teacher whose nose he has just  broken, Junior, fourteen, decides to make the iffy commute from his Spokane Indian reservation to attend high school in Reardan, a small town twenty miles away. He’s tired of his impoverished circumstances (“Adam and Eve covered their  privates with fig leaves; the first Indians covered their privates with their tiny hands”), but while he hopes his new school will offer him a better education, he knows the odds aren’t exactly with him: “What was I doing at Reardan, whose mascot was an Indian, thereby making me the only other Indian in town?” But he makes friends (most notably the class dork  Gordy), gets a girlfriend, and even (though short, nearsighted, and slightly disabled from birth defects) lands a spot on the varsity basketball team, which inevitably leads to a showdown with his own home team, led by his former best friend Rowdy. Junior’s narration is intensely alive and rat-a-tat-tat with short paragraphs and one-liners (“If God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs”). The dominant mode of the novel is comic, even though  there’s plenty of sadness, as when Junior’s sister manages to shake off depression long enough to elope — only to die,  passed out from drinking, in a fire. Junior’s spirit, though, is unquenchable, and his style inimitable, not least in the take-no-prisoners cartoons he draws (as expertly depicted by comics artist Forney) from his bicultural experience. ROGER SUTTON
reviewed in the September/October 2007 Horn Book Magazine

hunger games Banned Books Week 2014 The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins
Middle School, High School    Scholastic     374 pp.
10/08     978-0-439-02348-1     $17.99

Survivor meets “The Lottery” as the author of the popular Underland Chronicles returns with what promises to be an even better series. The United States is no more, and the new Capitol, high in the Rocky Mountains, requires each district to send two teenagers, a boy and a girl, to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a reality show from which only one of the twenty-four participants will emerge victorious — and alive. When her younger sister is chosen by lottery to represent their district, Katniss volunteers to go in her stead, while Peeta, who secretly harbors a crush on Katniss, is the boy selected to join her. A fierce, resourceful competitor who wins the respect of the other participants and the viewing public, Katniss also displays great compassion and vulnerability through her first-person narration. The plot is front and center here — the twists and turns are addictive, particularly when the romantic subplot ups the ante — yet the Capitol’s oppression and exploitation of the districts always simmers just below the surface, waiting to be more fully explored in future volumes. Collins has written a compulsively readable blend of science fiction, survival story, unlikely romance, and social commentary. JONATHAN HUNT
reviewed in the September/October 2008 Horn Book Magazine

stone a bad boy can be good for a girl Banned Books Week 2014A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
by Tanya Lee Stone
High School     Lamb/Random     227 pp.
1/06     0-385-74702-0     $14.95     g
Library edition 0-385-90946-2     $16.99

“Stupid / humiliated / foolish / stung / heartbroken / pissed off / and a little / bit / wiser.” High school freshman Josie sums up how she feels after falling for an only-out-for-one-thing senior, and she isn’t alone. The three (very different) teen girl narrators in this candid free-verse novel form a chorus of varied perspectives on how a “bad boy” — the same boy for all three — causes them to lose control before they even realize what’s happening. Stone’s portrayal of the object of their (dis)affection is stereotyped, but the three girls are distinct characters, and she conveys the way the girls’ bodies and brains respond to the unnamed everyjerk in electrically charged (and sexually explicit) detail. Finally returning to her senses, Josie decides to post warnings about her ex in the back of the school library’s copy of Judy Blume’s Forever…because “every girl reads it eventually.” Others add their own caveats in a reassuring show of sisterhood. As this scribbled “support group” illustrates, even the most careful and self-aware among us sometimes gets bitten by the snake in the grass. CHRISTINE M. HEPPERMAN
reviewed in the January/February 2006 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

looking for alaska Banned Books Week 2014Looking for Alaska
by John Green
High School     Dutton     237 pp.
3/05     0-525-47506-0     $15.99      g

A collector of famous last words, teenage Miles Halter uses Rabelais’s final quote (“I go to seek a Great Perhaps”) to  explain why he’s chosen to leave public high school for Culver Creek Preparatory School in rural Alabama. In his case, the Great Perhaps includes challenging classes, a hard-drinking roommate, elaborate school-wide pranks, and Alaska Young, the enigmatic girl rooming five doors down. Moody, sexy, and even a bit mean, Alaska draws Miles into her schemes,  defends him when there’s trouble, and never stops flirting with the clearly love-struck narrator. A drunken make-out session ends with Alaska’s whispered “To be continued?” but within hours she’s killed in a car accident. In the following weeks, Miles and his friends investigate Alaska’s crash, question the possibility that it could have been suicide, and  acknowledge their own survivor guilt. The narrative concludes with an essay Miles writes about this event for his religion class — an unusually heavy-handed note in an otherwise mature novel, peopled with intelligent characters who talk smart, yet don’t always behave that way, and are thus notably complex and realistically portrayed teenagers. PETER D. SIERUTA
reviewed in the March/April 2005 Horn Book Magazine

smith  out from boneville Banned Books Week 2014Bone: Out from Boneville and sequels
by Jeff Smith; illus. by Jeff Smith and Steve Hamaker
Intermediate     Scholastic/Graphix     140 pp.
2/05     0-439-70623-8     $18.95

When greedy Phoney Bone is run out of town, his cousins, Fone and Smiley, join him. Fone makes friends with a country girl, her no-nonsense gran’ma, and a dragon; Phoney must contend with ferocious rat creatures who are led by a mysterious “hooded one” and who want Phoney’s soul. This graphic novel (originally published in comic-book form) is slow paced but nevertheless imaginative. MARK ADAM
reviewed in the Fall 2005 Horn Book Guide

Are you reading any banned books this week?

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25. Dav Pilkey Stars in a Banned Books Week Video

What is Dav Pilkey’s advice for expressing concern about a book? In the video embedded above, the creator of the Captain Underpants series live draws and explains that people should not impede others from accessing books regardless of whatever personal feelings they may have.

Pilkey hopes people will realize that widespread censorship is not the answer; the appropriate response is to remember this statement: “I don’t want my children to read this book.” What are your thoughts?

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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