Archive for September, 2010

Banned Books Week: Harry Potter

Oh Harry Harry Harry. Why is it that people think you shouldn’t be read? In fact Harry is the seventh most challenged book out of the top hundred books challenged between 1990-2000. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve only read the first couple Harry books, but from what I’ve read, compared to other books I’ve read, this is nothing.

Looking it up, according to this article, the three biggest reasons Harry is challenged are:


2. HARRY and his friends are naughty and set a bad example for other kids

3. they’re too SCARY

I can answer why these are silly reasons to ban a book with the same answer for all. People reading at this reading comprehension level should know that: magic is pretend, just because the kids act wacky doesn’t mean that we need to, and while the books are scary in some parts, they’re just pretend and nothing is going to hurt you.

The Harry Potter series may be one of the most popular book series of all time because: the whole family is reading together, people who don’t like reading find themselves unable to stop reading, and even years after the last book has been written, people are still talking about them with as much enthusiasm as when they first read them.

What could be wrong with that?


Banned Books Week: Dystopian Fiction

Dystopian fiction is becoming more and more popular these days. To learn more about it, check out wikipedia here.

If you have had a chance to read either of these, you will immediately know why they have been banned. Still I think with the right audience, there could be chances for some great discussions. Both of the main issues in the books are intense, believe me.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

In the Giver, I can’t let you know what the real issue is except that the main character finds out what his dad does for a living and it traumatizes him so much that he can’t live with it.

About the book:
In the “ideal” world into which Jonas was born, everybody has sensibly agreed that well-matched married couples will raise exactly two offspring, one boy and one girl. These children’s adolescent sexual impulses will be stifled with specially prescribed drugs; at age 12 they will receive an appropriate career assignment, sensibly chosen by the community’s Elders.
This is a world in which the old live in group homes and are “released”–to great celebration–at the proper time; the few infants who do not develop according to schedule are also “released,” but with no fanfare.

Lowry’s development of this civilization is so deft that her readers, like the community’s citizens, will be easily seduced by the chimera of this ordered, pain-free society. Until the time that Jonah begins training for his job assignment–the rigorous and prestigious position of Receiver of Memory–he, too, is a complacent model citizen. But as his near-mystical training progresses, and he is weighed down and enriched with society’s collective memories of a world as stimulating as it was flawed, Jonas grows increasingly aware of the hypocrisy that rules his world.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

What a powerful powerful book. Can you imagine that one day you are a woman with a great job and a wonderful family and the next day you are expected to be a child bearer for a man high up in the military so that his wife doesn’t have to go through pregnancy and childbirth. One day you are a professional with a Phd and the next you are not allowed to read. This is the world of the Handmaid’s Tale. This is not intended as a teen book, however, for juniors or seniors I think that this could create a lot of discussion. What if you were going about your business and then one day you find out that your life is not your own anymore. You are basically a slave to another person’s whims. If you disagree with it, you are killed. Horrible to think about, yet possible.

About this book:
It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now…everything has changed.

Banned Books: Kids Books

The Witches by Roald Dahl

This is an obvious candidate for banning. The title only lets you know why people don’t like it. EEK! Witches! However the witches aren’t your traditional satanic, black wearing, cackling witches, in fact…

the witches aren’t even human! They do pretend to be human though. The main character’s grandmother teaches him how to recognize a witch:

1. witches have no hair, and must therefore wear wigs directly on their naked scalps, resulting in a condition they call “wig-rash”;

2. witches have thin, curved, claw-like fingernails that they must disguise with gloves;

3. witches have no toes;

4. a witch’s spit is bright blue, leaving a pale bluish film on their teeth;

5. a witch has unusual color-changing pupils in which one may see “fire and ice dancing” in the center

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

When I saw this one, I had to do a double and then a triple take… WHAT!?! You must be kidding me! And I still say WHAT?! You’ve got to be kidding me! After I saw the reasons why.

1) The poem “How Not To Have To Dry The Dishes” encourages kids to break the dishes so that they don’t have to wash them.

2) The poem “Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony” was considered too morbid for children since it discusses death (because she says she’ll die if she doesn’t get her pony, and then she does).

3) The book was often criticized for mentioning supernatural themes, including demons, devils, and ghosts.

The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

I love this blog post from the Daily Banning.

The Stupids are a series of books about a family that, well, you guessed it, is stupid. They do all sorts of silly things that kids who are old enough to read the books, should know better than to do. People feel, however, that maybe children can’t see the difference between what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. What a great way to open discussion! I can see it now… “Hey Jack!” (that’s my son’s name) “Yes mommy?” (that’s my name) “If you do really badly in school, do you think we should throw a party?” (Jack considers a moment) “No mommy, probably not, because you and daddy would be really sad.”

Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

By quickly looking at the book, you might think its for little little people, but upon reading the poems (here’s one):

I is for Icicle
Any icy stabbing so swiftly done,
the victim scarcely felt it.
The police are baffled:
“Where’s the weapon?”
The sun shines down to melt it.

You soon realize that its for older kids. I’m positive that many parents don’t want their four year-olds reading it (me being one of them), but for older kids in fifth or sixth grade, I think it might be fun. Another librarian blogged about this book recently, so I’ll share their post with you here.

Banned Books Week: Books by Black Authors

I’m about as white as they come, but I love reading historical fiction with black main characters. I think it gives me an appreciation for a culture that I’m not a part of and a part of history that I can’t imagine. I watched a mini-series called Lost in Austen, which was perfect for this post, but I can’t find the exact quote now. 😦 The main character, Amanda, has a little door in her bathroom that she finds out lets her go back to England when all the Jane Austen books were written. She has a best friend who is black and she wants her to come and see what its like. She does it without even thinking about what it could mean for her friend. The friend lets her know that she needs air conditioning and indoor plumbing and chocolate and she reminds her that she’s BLACK. What this long-winded statement is trying to get at is that not so long ago black people were not considered equal and before that, they weren’t considered humans. Can you imagine? Not me. I think that by banning books like these, you lose out on incredible discussions.

Here’s a list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books Written by Authors of Color 1990-1999

Some of the banned books that I really “enjoyed” were:

Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston

Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person — no mean feat for a black woman in the ’30s. Janie’s quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.

Song of Solomon
by Toni Morrison

Song of Solomon begins with one of the most arresting scenes in our century’s literature: a dreamlike tableau depicting a man poised on a roof, about to fly into the air, while cloth rose petals swirl above the snow-covered ground and, in the astonished crowd below, one woman sings as another enters premature labor. The child born of that labor, Macon (Milkman) Dead, will eventually come to discover, through his complicated progress to maturity, the meaning of the drama that marked his birth. Toni Morrison’s novel is at once a romance of self-discovery, a retelling of the black experience in America that uncovers the inalienable poetry of that experience, and a family saga luminous in its depth, imaginative generosity, and universality. It is also a tribute to the ways in which, in the hands of a master, the ancient art of storytelling can be used to make the mysterious and invisible aspects of human life apparent, real, and firm to the touch.

The Color Purple
by Alice Walker

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to “Mister,” a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister’s letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.

Starting Next Week…

…We’ll be “celebrating” Banned Books Week.

Here’s a couple of links from the American Library Association for

The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000

Banned and Challenged Classics

New Harry Potter Trailer

A new Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows trailer was posted today. Awe-Some!!

Teen Read Week Festivities!

October 2010
Close encounters with author Terry

Author Terry Trueman will be visiting the Rochester area during Teen Read Weekâ„¢ to speak with teens and other fans of his books Stuck in Neutral (winner of a 2001 Michael L. Printz Honor for Excellence in Young Adult Literature) and its companion novel, Cruise Control.

The entire Greater Rochester community is encouraged to read two novels: Stuck in Neutral and Cruise Control, by award winning author for teens, Terry Trueman. Copies of both books are available at all libraries in Monroe County Library System.

The novels are companion books: stories about the same events told by two very different characters.

In Stuck in Neutral, readers meet fourteen-year-old Shawn: he can’t move or communicate because of a profound,developmental disability, but he has an amazing inner life no one knows about.

Cruise Control is told from Shawn’s brother’s perspective. Paul is fiercely loyal to his brother, yet frustrated by the impact his brother’s condition has on his family. Both brothers believe their father is planning to kill Shawn, as an act of misguided mercy. The subject matter of these books is intense, but handled with a deft touch of humor.
Readers will want to talk about Shawn, Paul, and their lives! They will have questions that only an author can answer. A visit with Trueman always involves a lot of laughter and some crazy hijinks. Participants in the Greater Rochester Teen Read will be impressed with the way this talented and accomplished author genuinely connects with teens through his writing and in person.

Teen Librarians across Monroe County Library System are encouraging everyone to read teen books! The entire Greater Rochester community is encouraged to read Terry Trueman’s novels and discuss them with him at one (or all) of our events. Copies of both books are available at all libraries in Monroe County Library System.

Meet Terry Trueman Schedule of Events (Books will be available for purchase and signing!):

Kick-off event:

Monday, October 18th, 3:30pm – 5:00pm
Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, Kate Gleason Auditorium

115 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14604. (directions here) For more information call Teen Central at 585-428-8450. No registration necessary.
This event is sponsored by The Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County. The Central Library is handicapped accessible. To request specific accommodations, contact Deborah Nevin at 428-8304 ten days prior to the program.

Tuesday, October 19th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Pittsford Community Library

24 State Street, Pittsford, NY 14534. (directions here) To register for this event, visit or call the Library at 585-249-5481.
This event is sponsored by:
Friends of the Pittsford Community Library
Friends of Brighton Memorial Library
Friends of Fairport Public Library
Friends of Henrietta Public Library
Friends of Irondequoit Public Library
Friends of Penfield Public Library
Friends of Webster Public Library

Wednesday, October 20th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Ogden Farmers’ Library

269 Ogden Center Road, Spencerport, NY 14559. (directions here) To register for this event, visit or call the Library at 585-617-6181.
This event is sponsored by:
Friends of Ogden Farmers’ Library
Friends of Chili Public Library
Friends of Gates Public Library
Friends of Parma Public Library
Friends of Seymour Library, Brockport

Awesome Teen Events @ Parma

Every Tuesday the Parma library has progrmas for teens in grades 7-12.  Stop by 3:30-4:30 for all sorts of activities.  Today we have Teen Games.  Next week, 9/28 is a new art program!  Bring an art project you are working on or complete the planned activity.  This month we will be working on button jewelry.  This art group will also be working on putting together an art display in the meeting room.  This would be a great opportunity to display any artwork you have done that you would like to show off!

Check out the Parma teen page: for more information.

Here is a quick rundown of  the Teen Tuesday programs:

  • 1st: Book Discussion Group
  • 2nd: Anime Club
  • 3rd: Games
  • 4th Art Club
  • 5th Games

Free Copies of Terry Trueman’s CRUISE CONTROL at Brighton Lib!

So the MCLS Librarians have put together something cool — the first ever Greater Rochester Teen Read! The books of choice are Terry Trueman’s CRUISE CONTROL and STUCK IN NEUTRAL — quick but powerful novels, each told from the pov of a different brother.

To prepare for Terry’s visit to Rochester the week of Oct 17th, I’m holding a Teen Book Talk at Brighton Lib on Cruise Control on THURS, OCT 9 at 3:30PM — and the first ten registrants (in grades 6-12) get a free copy of the book (you can pick it up at the Brighton Reference Desk), then get it signed when Terry is here the week of the 17th.  Good deal right?

Call 784-5300 or email to register and reserve your free copy! Sponsored by the Friends of BML.


Cool news for the Gates Library

Yay for Gates! They’re getting a new library!

If you had a choice, what kinds of cool new things would you like to see in a new library?