Banned Books Week

It’s hard to believe that in the year 2020, people still try to ban books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Yet, it still happens today.

The American Library Association (ALA) launched Banned Books Week in 1982 to celebrate the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information. ALA publishes the lists to draw attention to literary censorship, but ALA officials stress that the annual report provides only a snapshot of book challenges, with ALA acknowledging that most challenges go unreported. In 2019, ALA reported a 17% increase in the number of challenges to library, school, and university materials and services—with an uptick in the number of challenged books that included or addressed LGBTQ+ content.

Here is full list of the top 100 most challenged and banned books of the last decade (2010-2019):

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  2. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  4. Looking for Alaska by John Green
  5. George by Alex Gino
  6. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  7. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
  8. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  9. Internet Girls (series) by Lauren Myracle
  10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  11. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  12. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  13. I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
  14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  15. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  16. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
  17. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  18. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
  19. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
  20. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg
  21. Alice McKinley (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  22. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
  23. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
  24. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
  25. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  26. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  27. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  28. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  29. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  30. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  31. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
  32. It’s a Book by Lane Smith
  33. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  34. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  35. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  36. A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
  37. Bad Kitty (series) by Nick Bruel
  38. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  39. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  40. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
  41. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
  42. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
  43. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
  44. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  45. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  46. Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine
  47. In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco
  48. Lush by Natasha Friend
  49. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  50. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  51. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  52. The Holy Bible
  53. This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
  54. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  55. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  56. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
  57. House of Night (series) by P.C. Cast
  58. My Mom’s Having a Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler
  59. Neonomicon by Alan Moore
  60. The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake
  61. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  62. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  63. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
  64. Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle
  65. Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
  66. Fade by Lisa McMann
  67. The Family Book by Todd Parr
  68. Feed by M.T. Anderson
  69. Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
  70. Habibi by Craig Thompson
  71. House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  72. Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman
  73. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  74. Monster by Walter Dean Myers
  75. Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
  76. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
  77. Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Schrag
  78. The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
  79. 1984 by George Orwell
  80. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  81. Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
  82. Awakening by Kate Chopin
  83. Burned by Ellen Hopkins
  84. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  85. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  86. Glass by Ellen Hopkins
  87. Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesle´a Newman
  88. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  89. Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans
  90. My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
  91. Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack
  92. Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology by Amy Sonnie
  93. Skippyjon Jones (series) by Judith Schachner
  94. So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
  95. The Color of Earth (series) by Tong-hwa Kim
  96. The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
  97. The Walking Dead (series) by Robert Kirkman
  98. Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
  99. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
  100. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

To celebrate this week, add some of these books to reading your list! As the theme of this week says, “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”

Educate and Act

Racism, violence, and hate have no place in our world.  Black lives do matter. And silence is not an option.

Take the opportunity to learn more and get a better understanding of the institutionalized and systematic racism in our country.  Here are a few books listed below to check out.

Books:

  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
  • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
  • Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt
  • Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino
  • Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
  • Waking Up White by Debby Irving
  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
  • A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature by Jacqueline Goldsby
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
  • Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

We can also support those organizations who are working to end social injustice. Click on their names to learn more about several organizations working hard on this front. Consider supporting them both financially and with your voice.  Many other organizations exist as I just listed a few here and not in any order.

Organizations:

You can do many things such as sign petitions, text and call legislators, donate to these organizations, educate yourself, donate supplies, protest in person or virtually, and more.  And vote.

“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

“It is the custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtinesses and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.”
― J. M. Barrie, The Adventures of Peter Pan

Mothers exist all over children’s literature as well quotes about them. Enjoy this one particular quote above from The Adventures of Peter Pan to celebrate this Scottish author’s birthday yesterday.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there (and even to the fictional ones)!

Star Wars Day

George Lucas created this magical franchise with the first film back in 1977 and it operates now as a huge enterprise!

While most people think of the movies when they think about Star Wars, many novels have been written about all the creative characters and stories. Enjoy a few minutes and read one of the many Star Wars books or comics out there!

Happy reading!

May the 4th be with you!

Wishtree

I just finished reading Wishtree written by Katherine Applegate. Fantastic book! I’m not surprised as I loved The One and Only Ivan also authored by Katherine Applegate.

In this novel, the author uses nature to tackle prejudice through the most beautiful use of words.

Red is the neighborhood oak tree that people place their wishes onto via a tie and cloth once a year. Red and his animal buddies have seen a lot over the years. In fact, Red has 216 rings on him.

I love the voice the author gives Red and his buddies to help out a new family to the area and grant a wish.  As I read this book, I felt the oak tree’s feelings and wanted to give him a wish that I could grant.

“But sometimes things happen that aren’t so good. When they occur, I’ve learned that there’s not much you can do except stand tall and reach deep.”
― Katherine Applegate, Wishtree

After finishing the book, I stared at my own oak tree for some time wondering about his thoughts, memories, and wishes.

Highly recommend picking up this quick, but really beautiful read!

Charles Dickens

Happy birthday to Charles Dickens! This great novelist was born today in 1812.

He brought us with some of the most memorable fictional characters of all times and known as one of the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era.

My personal favorite Dickens classics is A Tale of Two Cities. I remember vividly reading this book in high school (many years ago) and struck by his use of the language and words. In particular, I love his opening! The images, the pace, the words just ring magic.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

To celebrate his birthday, pick up one his classics and enjoy it! Maybe enjoy it with a cup a tea!

 

Day for Dads

Literature shares us with so many wonderful stories and people. We have met a number of pretty cool fathers in fiction over the years.  Here are a few of them:

  • Bob Cratchit, A Christmas Carol
  • Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Otto Frank, Diary of Anne Frank
  • Mr. Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
  • Gerald O’Hara, Gone with the Wind
  • Arthur Weasley, Harry Potter series
  • King Lear, King Lear
  • Horton, Horton Hatches the Egg

Many other awesome dads exist out there in fiction.  What other fictional fathers should we add to this list here?

Cheers to all the real dads out there today! Hopefully you get some time to read a great book today! Happy Father’s Day!

Summer Reading Programs

As the summer approaches for children, you can find a few resources to keep your children reading in addition to your local libraries.

First, Barnes and Noble offers a summer reading program every year where the children track at least 8 books on a form. Then, in August, they can come into the store and pick a book off of their list for free! Click here for the form.

Also, Scholastic is having a “Read-A-Palooza” Summer Reading Challenge. Over the summer, kids log their minutes that they have read online. They unlock digital rewards, book excerpts, and other summer content. In addition, once participating kids reach 25, then 50 and then 100 million minutes collectively read in the Summer Reading Challenge, Scholastic will donate a minimum of 200,000 books to kids in need across the United States! Click here for information on this program.

Make sure your littles read over the summer to continue their education from the previous school avoiding that summer slump.  And let your kids explore, grow, travel, and have fun reading some cool books over the warm summer!

Happy reading!