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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Deborah Ellis, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Angelina Jolie Pitt Will Exec Produce Cartoon Saloon’s ‘The Breadwinner’

The Irish animation studio behind Oscar-nominated 'Song of the Sea' and 'The Secret of Kells' just landed an Oscar winner for its next feature.

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2. Nora Twomey Will Direct Cartoon Saloon’s Next Film ‘The Breadwinner’

Cartoon Saloon's next animated feature will be "The Breadwinner," based on the bestelling novel by Deborah Ellis.

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3. Poetry Friday ~ PaperTigers 10th Anniversary: My Top Ten Picks by Sally Ito

[Time is running out to enter our Tenth Anniversary Draw - the deadline is tomorrow - so if you haven't already, take a look here for the chance to win some fantastic prizes for you or your school or library]

Sally Ito is a poet, editor and translator living in Winnipeg, Canada, where she also teaches Creative Writing; she is currently writer.  Sally was  a book reviewer and contributor to the PaperTigers blog until earlier this year and wrote many of our contributions to Poetry Friday during that time (which is why we decided to post Sally’s selection on a Poetry Friday day!).  So we are delighted to welcome her back with her Top Ten list of favourite books, encountered through her work with PaperTigers.

As a prelude, do listen to Sally reading the title poem from her collection Alert to Glory (Turnstone Press, 2011) in the video below.

My Top Ten Picks by Sally Ito

When I joined the Paper Tigers blog contributor team in 2008, the thing I was most excited about was getting to read and review great multicultural books for kids.  What I discovered was a plethora of wonderful books that reflected who I was culturally and who my community was, culturally, as well.  From my short time with PaperTigers, these are my ten picks of multicultural books for kids.  It’s a little Japan-heavy, I realize but I hope you indulge my bias!

Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin, 2008) – I found this quirky picture book amazing and it was an inspiration for me when I was teaching to take my creative writing students out into our immediate neighborhood (an historic district called The Exchange) in Winnipeg to see what we could make of our environment in a creative way.

Naomi’s Tree by Joy Kogawa, illustrated by Ruth Ohi (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2008).  This book is about a cherry tree and a Japanese Canadian girl who grew up with it and was separated from it by the circumstances of the Second World War.  This book was a personal favorite since the author’s history reflects my own family’s in Canada.

Granny’s Giant Bannock by Brenda Isabel Wastasecoot, illustrated by Kimberly McKay-Fleming (Pemmican, 2008).  This is one hilarious book about a Cree-speaking grandmother and her grandson Larf who accidentally bakes a giant bannock by misunderstanding his grandmother’s instructions on how to make the doughy confection from scratch.

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi, illustrated by Yuko Shimizu, translated by Cathy Hirano (Scholastic, 2009).  This book is a translation of a popular fantasy series that was also made into a TV series.  The story is set in early imperial Japan and features a woman warrior named Balsa who protects the son of the emperor, Chagum, as he carries within him a spirit from another dimension who must lodge in a human host in order to survive.

The Song of the Cicada by Shizue Ukaji.  This is a Japanese book, yet untranslated into English, that I discovered while living in Japan in 2011.  It’s an Ainu folktale illustrated with textile creations made by Ukaji herself.  It’s the story of a woman who prophesies disaster – namely a tsunami – to her people and what becomes of her as a result.  A timely read for the year I was visiting the country.

The Fox’s Window and Other Stories by Naoko Awa, translated by Toshiya Kamei.  This is a collection of short stories spanning a career of writing by Japanese author Naoko Awa.  Magical, enchanting and absorbing are the words I’d use to describe these stories, which have also been referred to as ‘modern fairytales.’

David’s Trip to Paraguay by Miriam Rudolph.  A bilingual book with German and English text, this story is about a young Mennonite boy named David who travels to Paraguay from Canada in the late 1920s.  Rudolph, an artist, charts the arduous journey with vivid and colorful illustrations of the things David sees on the trip.

Gifts: Poems for Parents edited by Rhea Tregebov (Sumach Press, 2002).  We say we read to our children for their sake, but it’s just as true that we read to feed ourselves, too.  Poetry is a kind of bread for the soul, and this particular treasury of poems by Canadians really fed me as a poet and a parent.

Bifocal by Deborah Ellis and Eric Walters.  This is one book I read in part with my son, who later went on to have the book assigned to him for his English class in junior high school.  It’s about two teenagers – Haroon and Jay – who have to negotiate their cultural identities during a tense lockdown situation at their high school.

Aya by Marguerite Abouet and Clement Oubrerie.  I started covering graphic novels for PaperTigers a few years ago as I felt this was a developing trend in books for young people.  And this book was one of my favorites!  Aya is about a young woman growing up in Cote D’Ivoire, looking to become a medical student, but whose life is inevitably shaped and influenced by those around her with less lofty goals than her.

This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Ed at Think Kid, Think – head on over.

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4. PaperTigers 10th Anniversary ~ Top 10 “Books that Open Windows” selected by Deborah Ellis

Today we bring you the first in a series of “Top-10″ posts as part of our 10th Anniversary celebrations.  First up is a selection of “Books that Open Windows” by award-winning writer Deborah Ellis.

Deborah’s latest novel came out last month: My Name Is Parvana (Groundwood Books, 2012) is the long-awaited sequel to her acclaimed The Breadwinner Trilogy.  As well as fiction, Deborah has written non-fiction highlighting global social issues from children’s perspectives, such as war, AIDS and bullying, and giving affected children a voice.  You can read PaperTigers’ interviews with Deborah here and here.


Top 10: Books that Open Windows by Deborah Ellis

Jean Little is a wonderful Canadian author of books for young people. She has a special place in my heart because when I was a child, my parents were friends with a friend of Jean’s – Jane Glaves – and I would get Ms. Little’s books for Christmas. One of my favorite Jean Little books is Look Through My Window, where one character talks about looking through someone’s window into who they are and what their lives are like.

The following books are ten I would recommend to anyone interested in seeing what’s inside someone else’s window.

1.   From Anna, by Jean Little ~ Novel for young people about a German family who comes to Canada just before the start of World War 2. The youngest, Anna, has struggles with her eyesight, her awkwardness and figuring out where her place is in her family and in this new world.

2.   All of a Kind Family, by Sydney Taylor ~ First in a series of books for young readers about a Jewish family in turn of the century Brooklyn. As the girls go about the adventures of their lives – such as earning money to pay for a lost library book – the family celebrates the calendar of holidays. As a Protestant-raised small-town girl, this was my first window into a different religion, and set off a respect and fascination for Judaism that continues to this day.

3.   Obasan, by Joy Kogawa ~ Moving telling of a young girl’s experience in a Japanese internment camp in Canada during World War 2.

4.   Nobody’s Family is Going to Change, by Louise Fitzhugh ~ Novel for young people about a girl in New York who can’t make her father see her for who she is. She grows to learn about other kids in other families and their struggles.

5.   A Dog on Barkham Street and The Bully of Barkham Street,  by Mary Stoltz – Look at the same story from two points of view. They taught me how to look for more than one side of the story.

6.   Mighty Be Our Powers, by Leymah Gbowee ~ A powerful memoir of a woman who survived the Liberian civil war and won the Nobel Prize for her work to rebuild the country.

7.   Amazing Grace, by Jonathan Kozol ~ About homelessness and poverty in America and the power of the education system to hurt or help the children in its care.

8.   Shannen and the Dream for a School, by Janet Wilson – part of the Kids’ Power Book series for young activists, this is a profile of Shannen Koostachin and her First Nations community of Attawapiskat as they try to get a safe school built.

9.   Bury Me Standing, by Isabel Fonseca ~ A moving, detailed history of the Roma people.

10.   Grey is the Color of Hope, by Irina Ratushinskaya ~ Prison diaries of the Soviet poet who spent seven years in the Gulags. One of the few records we have about what that time and place was like for women.

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5. Anti-Bullying Week is Just the Beginning…

Last week was Anti-Bullying Week in Canada and in the UK, where there is currently a move to make the focus on this important issue last for the whole of November.   But of course, the issues highlighted don’t disappear when you’re not looking at them – in fact, bullies are usually very clever at keeping their actions hidden.  The message still needs to be got across at all times that bullying is not acceptable.  We adults have a responibility for teaching respect for others and ourselves, both through formal education and in the example we set in our own behavior.

I have recently been reading two books in which young people tell of their experiences of bullying in their own words, accompanied with photographs and names in most cases.

The first, We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying is by Deborah Ellis (Coteau Books, 2010), who is well-known for drawing attention to the plight of children around the world caught up in mess caused by adults, both in her fiction (The Breadwinner Trilogy, set in Afghanistan; and the Cocalero novels, set in Bolivia), and in her non-fiction (Off To War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children; Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees).  We Want You to Know brings together the stories of young people aged 9-19 who have been bullied, who have bullied others, and who “have found strength within themselves to rise above their situations and to endure.”  They are all from Ellis’ “little corner of Southern Ontario” in Canada, following her involvement in a local Name It 2 Change It Community Campaign Against Bullying (and, indeed, royalties from the sale of this book go to the organization).  At the same time, interspersed with the longer accounts from the Canadian children are shorter highlighted statements from children across the world – Angola, Japan, Madagascar, South Korea, Uganda, the US.  Yes, bullying happens everywhere.

The book is divided into five main sections, You’re Not Good Enough, You’re Too Different, You’re It—Just Because, We Want to Crush You, and Redemption.  Each account has a couple of follow-up questions, asking “What Do You Think?”, and then there are discussion questions at the end of the sections.

The other book is Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories by Ouisie Shapiro with photographs by Steven Vote (Albert Whitman, 2010).  Again, it features first-hand accounts of young people who the introduction reminds us, “had a hard time reliving their experiences”, while recognising the importance of not remaining silent, to remind others who are bullied that “you’re not alone.  And it’s not your fault.”  Each account is followed by useful summarising statements from Dr Dorothy Espelage, a psychologist specializing in adolescent bullying.

Both these titles are aimed at young readers – but make no mistake, they are hard-hitting books that deliver a punc

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6. Children of War by Deborah Ellis

“A refugee’s life is never an easy one, but it’s especially tough on young people who are robbed of what should be the most formative, promising, and exciting years of their lives. At a time when they should be full of hopes and dreams for the future, they are instead faced with the harsh reality of displacement and privation. . .”
–United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

What I like about this book for middle grade readers is that it gives a voice to the war that students are always hearing about on television–especially in political news lately since the Obama administration is working to get troops out of Iraq. Children of War: Voices of Iraqi Refugees isn’t about soldiers or political agendas or terrorists or presidents–it’s about the innocent victims of any war–children. I also like that this book, like last Monday’s book: Our New Home: Immigrant Children Speak , let’s the children’s voices be heard. The children and teens are telling their own stories.

In Children of War by Deborah Ellis, the author also gives some background to readers before each child’s essay/story, so that readers can understand important issues in the child’s story. For example, in the first story in the book from Hibba, 16, it is important for readers to understand that Islam is divided into different groups just like the Christian religion is (Catholic, Protestant, etc). Two of the Islam groups are Sunni and Shia. Saddam Hussein was a Sunni Muslim. In Hibba’s case, her mother is Sunni. Her father is Shia, and they are applying to live in the United States. Readers learn all of this information from Ellis’s introduction. Then, you hear Hibba’s story in her own words–about fleeing to Jordan, about her father being kidnapped and killed, about applying for asylum in the United States. Powerful stuff–especially for middle grade readers.

Here’s a quote from R, 18, that I think says a lot to children and adults. R. is an Iraqi Kurdish teenager living in Canada. He says: “When Canadian kids–the ones who have always been here and have a good life–start complaining to me about the little things that bother them, I just think, ‘You have no idea.’ ” And he lets you know what it’s like for him to be a refugee in his own words. Again–powerful stuff.

Books like Children of War by Deborah Ellis need to be shared with children of all ages. It takes education and understanding to solve these problems that war has created, to break down racial barriers, and to have sympathy/empathy for other people. These are stories of survival from the youngest victims. They can give anyone strength and hope.

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7. Books at Bedtime: Nim and the War Effort

In her recent interview with PaperTigers, Deborah Ellis talked about the background to her most recent book, Off to War: Voices of Soldiers’ Children. This is a very thought-provoking book for children aged 9+ about the effects on the children left behind of having parents fighting overseas. In a way, these are children whose day-to-day existence is not outwardly affected by conflict and yet on whose lives the consequences of war can and often do have a profound effect.

A book I have read again recently to my children is Milly Lee’s Nim and the War Effort, illustrated by Yangsook Choi (Sunburst/ Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002). Set in San Francisco during the Second World War, it tells the story of Nim, a little girl who is intent on beating her arch enemy, Garland Stephenson, an unprincipled bully, from winning the school drive to collect old newspapers “for the war effort”. She strikes lucky when she is offered a garage piled high with bundles of newspapers and resourcefully calls the police to help her to get them to the school in time…

Nim’s rather strict upbringing is ostensibly unaffected by the fact that the Second World War is going on – but it pervades her life nevertheless. Her grandfather wears a lapel pin of crossed American and Chinese flags; and she is fully aware of what certain symbols around her mean – like a gold star on a white background in a front window, to show that “the family who lived there had lost someone in the war”. At the same time, their deeper significance is perhaps lost on her. She is too young to understand that the lapel pin is there to protect her family from the prejudice against Americans of Japanese ethnicity at that time; nor what the emotional impact of losing a loved one in a war overseas actually means. However, it is also these details that give the story a depth and a historical validity: and indeed, in an interview with PaperTigers, Milly Lee told us that, apart from slightly changing her rival’s name, this is a true story. Her grandfather received several phone-calls telling him that his grand-daughter was in the back of a police car, which must have caused more than a little concern, but for Milly:

Oh yes, the ride in the police paddy wagon was wonderful, exhilarating, jubilant, a thrill, and probably the best ride I’ve ever had - and I’ve been on many different kinds of rides since then: yak, elephant, dogsled, tundra-buggy, rafts, and camel!

I can just imagine! And I particularly like the ending, where Grandfather reminds Nim to “Be gracious in your moment of triumph” – and she places her last newspaper on Garland’s stack then “looked over her shoulder and flashed Grandfather an impish grin” – feisty!

This is a beautifully crafted story – and a beautifully illustrated one – which not only leaves young listeners cheering that Nim won the day but gives much pause for thought about racial prejudice and bullying.

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8. Books at Bedtime: Reading Challenge (Update 4!)

I Am a Taxi by Deborah EllisOur fourth geographical area for our readaloud PaperTigers Reading Challenge book this month is the Americas and we chose Deborah Ellis’ I Am a Taxi. I was slightly concerned that it might prove too much for Little Brother (aged 7): but by making sure that we read the last few chapters during week-end morning “book sessions” rather than at bedtime, we had plenty of discussion time (drugs…) and no nightmares! Diego, the book’s 11-year-old hero, became a real person to my two boys. They absorbed details about Bolivia; they compared details of Diego’s life with their own; and they goggled at the encounters with nature in the jungle. It was salutary for me to observe that they did not really pick up on the sinister side to Smith until it was completely obvious, but trusted him as someone who was kind to Diego, which in the immediacy of dealing with jungle beasties, he was. This did, however, make the climax particularly shocking for them. It is a book that I think they will both pick up and read for themselves in a few years’ time – for now, it has been a very exciting readaloud for us all.

For more, take a look at what Shelf Elf and Elisabeth thought about it too.

Little Brother’s book also came from the Americas – Napí by Antonio Ramírez and illustrated by Domi. Here’s what he has to say about it:

Napi by Antonio Ramirez and Domi

Napí is about a little girl called Napí who loves to dream. She is a Mazateca Indian from Mexico. She likes herons and I think it’s beautiful when it says the trees bloomed with herons and it’s also quite funny. Napí often dreams she’s become a heron. The river dresses itself in different colours. The river smiles up at her and the rocks on the riverbank form teeth. In her dream she was followed by the moon and carried by the river and the moon had a face and the river had hands. The pictures had all the colours I know and some I didn’t. They are so spectacular! I give it 10/10!

La Bloga and Gina MarySol Ruiz have both published reviews in the past too…

Meanwhile, Older Brother (9) travelled to the other side of the world and read Kakadu Calling by Jane Garlil Christophersen, an elder of the Bunitj clan in Kakadu National Park, Australia:

Kakadu Calling by Jane Garlil Christophersen

These adventure stories are all set in the Australian Bush. I liked the book because all the stories had animals in them – a snake, a dingo and a hermit crab - as I love animals and it’s wonderful to me to be reading about wild animals in Australia. My favourite story was about a young boy who had to wait four full moons until his parents came to pick him up from his grandparents but he decides he wants to get home sooner and runs away. On his way he meets some buffalos and he wakes up to find a snake slithering across his chest. He wanted to run but he heard his father’s voice telling him to stay really still.

So, we have but one more book to go in our Reading Challenge 2008… We’ve been taking it gently but I would say there’s still time to leap in there; and at the end of the month, be ready to tell us your final booklists. We can’t wait to hear from you!

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9. Click

a novel by 10 authors

What a book. What a beautiful, thought-provoking book.

I will say that I didn't like the last two stories of the book, which was frustrating. All of the stories use metaphor and symbolism to varying degrees (some intentionally, some not) and I didn't care for the taste of the final two. I don't want that to discourage you from reading the book - the rest of the stories are wonderful, and perhaps you'll even enjoy them all.

It is a remarkable little book. On the surface, it contains ten stories; but there are stories within stories. It gives you this feel of depth and magnitude. Each story made me feel differently, and they all made me think. One even made me ache a little, it was so good.

This would be a great pick for a book club. There's loads of discussions in here waiting to happen. Oh - and it made me want to take up photography. Perhaps I will.

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10. Intellectual Freedom Award

A press release found at Access OLA (Ontario Library Association) announces that Bernard Katz has received the Les Fowlie Intellectual Freedom Award for 2008. Katz served as the senior director at the University of Guelph McLaughlin Library. He contributed greatly to the OLA's work on intellectual freedom and copyright. According to the release,

This award honours Bernard's ethics, integrity and passion in the defense of intellectual freedom in all its forms over the last two decades as a member of OLA. He led the development of the OLA's Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual, a document that has remained relevant and has withstood the tests of time. Last year, his work with OLA in the defense of the right of children in the Silver Birch Award program to read Three Wishes by Deborah Ellis was breathtaking.

Past recipients include the Toronto Public Library and Halton Board of Education.

Read the OLA's Statement on the Intellectual Rights of the Individual in PDF format.

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11. So far behind

So... it would appear that I still have 17 books that I read in 2006 and still haven't blogged about. I'm going to try to get through those before 2008 rolls around (which, let's face it, is just around the corner.)

Today's song is Ingrid Michaelson's The Hat. (Napster, apparently, is no longer offering the option to blog music. :( )

The store for November is up. Check out some of my favorite things and help support my habit!

In interesting news, I tried something new for my 6-9 year old story time last week. I "read" them the wordless graphic novel, Robot Dreams, by Sara Varon. They sat still for the entire half hour while we went through each panel and told the story to each other. It was great. I've never seen them pay so much attention and they *loved* the story.

But, onto the books:

Into the Woods by Lyn Gardner, pictures by Mini Grey

This is not an old, unblogged book, but rather one I just finished. (I'm trying to keep on top of things, you know!)

When Storm's mother, Zella, dies, she leaves Storm an ordinary tin pipe, but tells her Look after it, Storm. Don't be careless with it. It's not a trinket. Whatever you do, don't let it fall into the wrong hands. If you do, you will regret it, for such an event would put you and your sisters into terrible danger. I have chosen you, Storm, because I know that you will not betray my trust.

But, of course, it does fall into the wrong hands and Storm and her sisters must go into the woods and to the mountains in order to save it. Using the tales of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty, Gardner has spun a completely original tale about what happens with the piper tries to come back, and the people who remember what happened the first time around.

A great adventure with girls kicking some serious butt and the middle child as the leader. Mini Grey's large black-and-white pictures not only adorn the chapter pages, but also help break up the text and add to the spookiness of the tale.

A Company of Fools by Deborah Ellis

This is one that I read last November. What I remember most about it is the hope in times of despair and the friendship. I remember it being fantastic, though I only remembered the basics of the plot. (Funny how that works.) I had to look up some of the plot details.

It's 1348 and Henri is a choir boy in St. Luc's Abbey. Brother Bartholomew is always bringing weird things back from his travels and one day he brings back ragamuffin Micah. He has an angelic voice, but is mischievous. When the Plague comes to Paris, the boys form a comedy troupe to entertain the grieving masses, to offer an alternative to the endless funeral dirges. Surrounded by death, especially when the plague comes to the Abbey itself, Henri's tale stays strong. He doesn't waver into melodrama. I liked it.

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12. Discussion Resources

A lot of people come to this page looking for discussion guides on particular books. I have posted ones that we have used at the Pelham Public Library for others to use.

One covers banning and censorship issues. There is a new discussion guide for Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak. A discussion guide for Wild Swans was published previously.

Take the "Banned Book Challenge" with the Pelham Public Library.

Freedom to Read Poster 2001

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13. Looking for Children to Interview

Quillblog, the weblog of Quill and Quire reports that Journalist and CityNews ombudsman Peter Silverman has a request concerning Deborah Ellis' Three Wishes.

I am a journalist in the process of doing a television story on the banning of Three Wishes by the Toronto School Board. I have read this book and would like to receive comments from children between the fourth and sixth grades concerning their opinions. With parental consent, I would like to interview these children for CITYTV as I am doing a documentary on this issue. I can be reached at peters@citytv.com
Thanks. Peter Silverman, OMBUDSMAN, CITYNEWS

I would love to see what the children have to say, as well. I am rereading Three Wishes as part of the "Banned Book Challenge" and our JT Book Club is reading it this month.

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14. Ten-year-old Awarded for Defense of Freedom to Read

Freedom to Read Poster 1994

A Toronto Star article entitled "Plucky Reader Honoured for Book's Defence" reports that ten-year-old Evie Freedman is being awarded with the Writers' Union Freedom to Read Award. Evie is a grade 5 student in the Halton Public School Board. When a number of school boards decided to pull Deborah Ellis' Three Wishes: Palestinia and Israel Children Speak, Evie was very vocal about the importance of this book and was widely quoted.

According to Evie, adults were always underestimating what kids can understand and she was adamant she didn't need anyone to tell her what she could read.

She went on to say that one particular line from Three Wishes stood out for her. "If children are tough enough to be bombed and starved, they're tough enough to read about it."

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15. Celebrate Freedom to Read

Today marks the beginning of Freedom to Read Week in Canada. The Pelham Public Library challenges the world to read a banned or challenged book...or two...or three between February and June 2007. Register for the "Banned Book Challenge" and join challenged authors Meg Cabot, Deborah Ellis and Maryrose Wood as we celebrate our freedom to read.

Now where are all of the other challenged and banned authors -- Lois Lowry, Chris Crutcher, Madeleine L'Engle, Katherine Paterson? Who else is up for the challenge? Just drop me a line!

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16. Deborah Ellis to Take the Banned Book Challenge

Canadian author Deborah Ellis, recipient of the Order of Ontario for 2006 and the Governor General's Award for Looking for X has faced challenges to her books. When contacted about this "Banned Book Challenge," she promised to give it a go.

What a great idea! I can't promise, but I will try.

Paper Tigers
recently interviewed Ellis.
Your books are often controversial - not least in your native Canada. In particular, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak has been both promoted and removed from reading lists in Ontario. What are your views on book censorship, particularly of children's and young adults' books?

I think all topics should be available in children's and YA novels, but not all writers have the talent to write about all topics in a way that is accessible to children. We put children in all sorts of situations around the world - prostitution, drug abuse, slavery, incest, etc - and it takes special talent to write about those things in a way that is respectful. There are topics that I won't touch because I know I don't have the talent to do them properly.

A Canadian challenged book list has the following information about the recent banning of Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak
2006—In Ontario, the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) urged public school boards to deny access to this children’s non-fiction book about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to students in the elementary grades.
Cause of objection—The CJC said that Ellis had provided a flawed historical introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The CJC also said that some children in the book portrayed Israeli soldiers as brutal, expressed ethnic hatred and glorified suicide bombing. The effect on young student readers, the CJC said, was “toxic.”
Update—Although the Ontario Library Association (OLA) had recommended Three Wishes to schools as part of its acclaimed Silver Birch reading program, and although schoolchildren were not required to read the book, at least five school boards in Ontario set restrictions on the text:
a) The District School Board of Niagara encouraged librarians to steer students in Grades 4–6 away from Three Wishes and to tell parents that their children had asked for the book.
b) The Greater Essex County District School Board restricted access to the book to students in Grade 7 or higher.
c) The Toronto District School Board restricted access to the book to students in grade 7 or higher and withdrew the book from school library shelves.
d) The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board refused to stock the book and refused to provide copies to students who asked for it.
e) In 2005, before the CJC made its views about Three Wishes public, the York Regional District School Board also withdrew the book from the Silver Birch program.
Protests by the OLA, The Writers’ Union of Canada, PEN Canada and the Association of Canadian Publishers failed to persuade the school boards to repeal their restrictions.

Sarah Elton wrote this article for the Globe and Mail in the wake of the controversy.

I am embarrassed to tell this blog's readers that I live within the boundaries of the District School Board of Niagara and at one time taught for them. I have read this book and find it to be a fair and balanced view of the conflict. It is powerful because it is in the words of the children themselves and it challenges the adults in their lives and even as far away as Canada to put a stop to the horrow. Our JT Book Club (ages 11-15) is reading Three Wishes this month.

Take the "Banned Book Challenge" yourself and let us know what your goal is.

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17. Ontario's Exemplary Role Model Author of Banned Book(s)

Today the Honourable James K. Bartleman, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, announced that 29 people will be named to the Order of Ontario. Among the recipients will be author Deborah Ellis whose books have faced challenges and bannings in Ontario, the latest being Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak which was removed from Toronto and York School Board libraries.

According to Bartleman,

The men and women who are being honoured are stellar examples of the best and the brightest in this province. They are exemplary role models for us all.

Ellis is described as
Award winning children's author and human rights advocate who has donated more than $500,000 in royalties from her books to human rights causes. Ms. Ellis' books include: Looking for X; The Breadwinner; Parvana's Journey and Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak.

The Order of Ontario is Ontario's most prestigious official honour.
The award was created in 1986 by the Government of Ontario to recognize the highest level of individual excellence and achievement in any field. The men and women invested in The Order are representative of the best of Ontario's caring and diverse society and stand as shining examples for us all. Their lives have benefited society in Ontario and elsewhere.

In August 2006, Deborah Ellis was honoured by the Elementary Teachers' Federation.

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18. AIDS Awareness Day

Support World AIDS Day

Today is AIDS Awareness Day.

Two books for children that address the issue of AIDS by an author who has faced book challenges are The Heaven Shop and Our Stories, Our Songs by Deborah Ellis. Find an interview with Deborah Ellis about The Heaven Shop at the Cafe Book Blog.

A review by Grace Sheppard, a children's librarian highly recommends Our Stories, Our Songs for children 12 and up.
Ellis does an excellent job of bringing the children's stories together with clear information about the problems of AIDS, child labour, poverty, and women's rights. Although this book packs a mighty emotional wallop for complacent Canadians, Ellis also manages to find hope, and her conclusion is a rousing call to action. Royalties from the sale of the book will be donated to Unicef. A must-have for all libraries, and a must-read for everyone.

Read the article in Faze Magazine for more information about Ellis' trip to Malawi.

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19. One Book, One City

Deborah Ellis' Looking for X has been chosen by the organizers of Hamilton's One Book, One City event, according to The Hamilton Spectator. Deborah Ellis is the Canadian author of a number of controversial books for young people. Most recently, Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak has faced the most opposition in schools and was banned from or restricted in York and Toronto school libraries.

In choosing Looking for X, the project is highlighting the problems of poverty in Canada. The city of Hamilton will be asked to read the book and interpret the themes through a number of media.

Looking For X is Ellis' 2000 Governor General's Literary Award-winning novel about an 11-year-old girl living in Toronto public housing. Khyber lives in Regent Park with her single mother, a former stripper.

Ellis stated, "Literature is great on a personal level ... when it can be used in the community to move the community forward, I find that very exciting."

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