This week (Sept 27th - Oct 3rd) is Banned Books Week. A banned or challenged book is one that has come under fire for various reasons. Sometimes libraries are asked to move a book to a different section (out of a teen section for example), to place a warning sticker on books considered "inappropriate," or they might be asked to remove a book from the library completely. The American Library Association keeps track of these attempts to ban/challenge books, here is a list of the top most challenged titles from 2014. The number one most challenged book, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, also just happens to be one of my favorite books.
It's the story of Junior, a talented cartoonist, leaves his local school for better opportunites at a new school. However, Junior lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation so in leaving his reservation school he's also leaving his tribe for an all white school, "where the only other Indian is the school mascot." Junior has trouble fitting in at his new school and even more trouble at home on the reservation where his friends and family view his transfer as a betrayal.
Junior's life is made more complicated by physical limitations and family obligations. His story is deeply affecting and will make readers laugh and ugly cry. Sherman Alexie's writing is completely engrossing. Seriously, you won't be able to get enough, and why should you, he has written tons of amazing books!
This week, think about the books you've read that have really meant something to you. The books that stayed with you and helped shape the person you've become. I bet at least one of them is on the banned books lists. Join me! #IStandWithTheBanned!
In conjunction with National Runaway Prevention Month Monroe County Public Library and Youth Services Bureau are asking for short film submissions about teen homelessness. Films should be 5 minutes or less and should relate to issues surrounding the topic of teen homelessness. The top submissions will be screened prior to the The Homestretch film screening on November 5th. Read more about Call Out for Film Submissions on Teen Homelessness
Nimona is a powerful shape-shifter who dreams of becoming a super-villain, so of course she signs up to be the sidekick of Lord Ballister Blackheart. Blackheart is already a known evil genius and arch nemesis of the country's top hero. However, this hero, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, might not be the hero after all. Nimona and Blackheart are out to prove that Goldenloin and the Institute he works for are the true evil in the land - that is if Blackheart can control Nimona even a little bit.
This graphic novel is original, creative, and hilarious. Nimona and Blackheart are great characters with intriguing back-stories. The world in which the story is set is part medieval and part modern with a bit of a futuristic twist. This is a quick read and will leave you hoping for more! Noelle Stevenson, we need a sequel please! If back to school has got you in a pleasure reading slump, pick up this fabulous graphic novel.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman is a fast paced, beautifully imagined fantasy. Seraphina is a talented musician working at the royal court, but she also has a dangerous secret she has to keep - she is half dragon. In the world of this novel dragons can inhabit their natural form or a human form called a Saar. While in their human form they have forged a treaty with Seraphina's home country of Goredd, but it is a tenuous peace with both sides still holding deep prejudices against each other.
Seraphina finds herself thrust into the very heart of conflict. The story is adventurous, mysterious, political, and romantic. Seraphina is a character to root for and one who will find her way into readers' hearts. Pick up this fabulous book (or it's sequel Shadow Scale) and let it transport you to a new world.
Horror stories scare me and this one was no exception. Micheline Helsing (yes, she's related to THE Van Helsing) is a tetrachromat and a ghost hunter. Tetrachromats can see spirits that regular humans cannot, but Micheline is particularly unique. She uses a special camera to trap and destroy ghosts who are terrorizing the human world. Micheline is good at her job; together with her loyal team she fights off creatures that would leave most of us hiding under the covers. It's a scary job, but Micheline isn't afraid, until the night she disobeys orders and goes after a dangerous spirit alone. Now she and her friends are racing against the clock to defeat an unknown, powerful evil before it consumes them from the inside...literally.
The Loners is the story of a group of teens in an extraordinary situation, "When a virus deadly to adults infects their high school, brothers David and Will and the other students soon break into gangs that fight each other for survival and the hope of escaping their quarantine." Check it out if you like dystopias, adventures, or stories of survival!
The list of nominees for the 2016 Eliot Rosewater award are also available. Start reading now and then vote for your favorite! You could help decide next year's winner!