The American Library Association (ALA) has released its annual list of the most frequently challenged library books of the year. Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award-winning young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, claimed the top spot.
Throughout the year 2014, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 311 reports of challenged books. Click here to check out an infographic that explores “Banned Books Through History.”
Here’s an excerpt from the ALA report: “The lack of diverse books for young readers continues to fuel concern…A current analysis of book challenges recorded by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) from 2001 – 2013, shows that attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.”
10 Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2014
1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
2. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
3. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell with illustrations by Henry Cole
4. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
5. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
6. Saga written by Brian Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples
7. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
9. A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
10. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Written & illustrated by Henry Cole
$18.99, ages 4-7, 32 pages
A young tree digs his roots into forest soil, never imagining that he'd ever grow anywhere else, in this beautiful, tender story about a little Christmas tree.
The tree, an evergreen with fine, stubby needles, is the littlest one in the forest, at first no taller than a sparrow. Every day, he pushes his way further up through the grass to find the sun.
Though all the other trees on the hillside are much taller, the Littlest Evergreen doesn't mind because he's happy just where he is and he feels a part of something grand.
Every spring, the Littlest Evergreen inches a little more skyward, stretching the tip of his crown to try to catch up to other trees. And each day into summer, he soaks in the smells and sounds around him.
He marvels at the heat pulling the scent out of his needles and the crackle of lightning in the air. He delights in the downpour that follows, the feeling of rain washing away dust from his bows.
And when fall comes and his sap slows, he sleeps, with his roots tucked under a blanket of snow until titmice and chickadees herald spring once more.
Living there, in a carpet of trees, is serene -- and for a time, safe. But then one day, a terrible sound rips through the air and his companions begin to fall to the ground around him.
The little tree's needles stand straight up, as an electric saw slices this way and that "like the wings of a swallow cut through air." Tree after tree slumps over "with a soft whoosh of needles," and workers haul them into a truck.
The Littlest Evergreen wonders if he'll be cut down too, never to know what it's like to be big. But then something incredible happens.
The cutters dig him up instead. They wrap burlap around his roots, then send him to a Christmas tree lot to be used fo
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The Children's Book Council hosts the Children's Choice Book Awards. The favorite book finalists for this year were determined by close to 15,000 children and teens. I highly recommend checking out these books!
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Why is a raven like a writing desk?* More on topic, how is a bad query sent to an editor like a personal ad? Last April The Rejectionist sought to answer this very question in Love is Like a Bottle of Query and I couldn’t help but figure that it would make a superb Valentine’s Day link for you all.
That seems insufficient fodder for today’s post, though. So just for the heckuvit, here is a list of my favorite romantic picture books. Howsoever you wish to interpret them.
The Duchess of Whimsy by Randall de Seve, illustrated by Peter de Seve – Not only was it written by a husband and wife team (an inherently romantic proposition) but it also features one of my favorite love stories. You have a Duchess who is only interested in whimsical things and the practical fellow who loves her. I’m a fan. Plus it’s a real treat to the old eyeballs.
The Marzipan Pig by Russell Hoban – The saddest Valentine’s Day book on this list and long out of print. Nevertheless I love that book, and I love the little film that was made of it long long ago. You can catch a section of it here if you like:
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, illustrated by Stephane Jorisch – I understand that there are as many different picture book versions of this book as there are drops of water in the sea. Everyone from Hilary Knight to James Marshall has adapted this poem at some point (probably because it’s the rare standalone poem that converts to the picture book format so easily). My personal favorite amongst these versions, however, is Jorisch’s. This isn’t just a story about two different species getting together. No, in Jorisch’s world it’s two different lifestyles. The owl is all buttoned up business suit and the cat this Greenwich Village, thick soled boot-wearing artist. Yet impossibly they get together and wed. How awesome is that?!
Henry in Love by Peter McCarty – A love story appropriate for the schoolyard set. More of a crush really. In this sweet tale a little cat has a crush on a rabbit in his class. They reach a mutual understanding all thanks to a bright blue muffin. Aside from making me hungry for muffins (particularly those of irregular colors) McCarty employs a really gorgeous pen to the illustrations in this book. Little wonder it appeared on the
5 Comments on Happy Valentine’s Day!!, last added: 2/15/2011
Chicken Butt! and Chicken Butt’s Back by Erica Perl
Review by Chris Singer
About the author:
Erica Perl is a full-time writer and part-time chicken. She is the author of Ninety-Three In My Family, which School Library Journal called a “Comic Masterpiece,” and Chicken Bedtime Is Really Early, which received a starred review from BookList. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C. Visit her at www.ericaperl.com.
About the illustrator:
Henry Cole grew up on a farm in Virginia with a coop full of mischievous chickens. He now lives in Florida with two peacocks. You can find him online at www.henrycole.net.
About the books:
CHICKEN BUTT! — When a little boy successfully uses “fowl” play and ridiculous rhymes to get his distracted dad’s attention, he gets so excited he keeps going and going. Dad wants to stop the silliness, but he’s no match for . . . CHICKEN BUTT! A laugh-out-loud, read-it-again delight for the whole family.
CHICKEN BUTT’S BACK! — In this cheeky (sorry!) sequel to the wildly fun Chicken Butt!, the young jokester and his chicken muse are back, but this time they’re trying to trick Mom. She thinks she has caught on to the gag, but as she distractedly does the grocery shopping, she falls victim to a flurry of jokes using homonyms and homophones—words such as “dear” and “deer,” and “which” and “witch.” Wordplay has never been so much fun.
Like Chicken Butt!, this story encourages children to participate in a call-and-response reading format that reinforces their reading skills.
My take on the books:
If your kids like to laugh and be silly, you may need to introduce them to these fun reads from Erica Perl. I love how the dialogue is written in different fonts and colors – the parents in a black font and the son’s in bold red. Both parents in the stories are trying to have some peace and concentrate on the task at hand (Dad’s reading his newspaper while Mom’s going grocery shopping). The illustrations are wildly fun and rambunctious as well, and both parents and children will have a blast reading this together out loud.
Teachers as well can have a great time during classroom story time since both books encourage children to do a call-and-response (as mentioned above). You can even further extend the book by having children write their own versions or even act out scenes.
All in all, both
Read my review on Good Reads with Ronna of The Littlest Evergreen by author/illustrator Henry Cole. It is a darling children’s book and is a perfect gift for the little person in your life!
A “concerned mother” allegedly pulled all the books she considered “dirty” off the shelves of her local library, created her own display in the teen section, photographed it, and then posted it on her website - claiming it was an actual display. Some of the books she wants removed include: Growing Up Gay in America; Homosexuality: What Does It Mean?; and Making Sexual Decisions: The Ultimate Teen Guide.
The weird part is that on her own Web site, she runs photos of pages to show how “horrible” they are. Read more here. [Full disclosure: if you click on her site, it takes a looooong time to load.]
In my imaginary spectrum of picture books that appeal to children, I place Chicken Butt and Skippyjon on one end, and Georgia Rises, A Day in the Life of Georgia O'Keeffe, on the other. Georgia Rises is beautifully written by Kathryn Lasky and beautifully illustrated by Ora Eitan. How appealing it is to kids, I don't know. It could be quiet and poetic enough to tip it off the kid-appeal spectrum. But as I write this I realize that the real focus of the book is color, and color is an interesting subject to a lot of kids. My kids had favorite colors from about the age of 3, and their favorites kept changing.
There are (at least) two other picture books about O'Keeffe: My Name is Georgia by Jeanette Winter, and Through Georgia's Eyes by Rachel Victoria Rodriguez, illustrated by the marvelous Julie Paschkis.