Monthly Archives: September 2010

Mondays with Megan or I Read Banned Books

Happy Monday and Happy Banned Book Week! Banned Book Week is an opportunity for us to celebrate the First Amendment and our freedom to read. The purpose of the week is to highlight the importance of access to information free from censorship. Every year the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF)receives hundreds of complaints about inappropriate materials in found libraries and classrooms across the country. The majority of these challenges are about books for children and teenagers. The top three reasons that books are challenged are:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Challenges are most often made to protect children and teens from difficult ideas and information. The intention may be good, but this is a threat to individual rights. While it is every parent’s right to decide what is appropriate for their child, it is not their right to decide what other children read.

In 2009 the OIF received 460 complaints. The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2009 contain 8 young adult books. Here is the list (from the ALA website) and the reasons for the challenges:

1. “TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs
2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality
3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide
4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence
8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

You can find the 100 most frequently challenged books of the decade (2000-2009)here. I don’t know about you, but I found some of my all time favorites on that list, including Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving (I remember reading this in high school. I couldn’t put it down, stayed up all night reading it and cried as the sun came up and the book ended) and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Do you have a favorite banned book?

Be sure to exercise your right to read. Check out a banned or challenged book from the library this week. You might even find yourself wondering what all the fuss is about. You can find displays of banned books this week in the teen room and the main browsing room.

Happy Reading

˜Megan

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Mondays with Megan, In Which I Take a Break From Vamps and Other Paranormals

I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately so I have no new books to add to my list this week (so weird), but I am happy to report that I have found something that seems to be pulling me out of this rut. I must have needed a break from the paranormal because I am thoroughly enjoying a book without vampires, werewolves, magic, demons, or characters with super-sweet supernatural powers. What is this book that has none of my favorite things but  is still pretty amazing? The Cardturner by Louis Sachar! It’s about teenaged Alton, his blind great-uncle, a crazy girl, and bridge, the card game. I am not finished so you will have to wait until next week to hear more about it, but I can tell you right now that it is laugh-out-loud funny.

While you wait from me to return The Cardturner I suggest you pick up something by Gordon Korman. Maybe No More Dead Dogs? I am hoarding all the copies of that one because it’s for the new book club! Come get a copy and then join us on October 13th to talk about it.

Book club not your thing? How about video games? Tomorrow is the first video game day of the new school year. Join us in the auditorium after school for snacks and video games. I hope to see you there!

Happy Reading

˜Megan

Did you hear about the new pirate movie? It’s rated AARRR!

Ahoy Mateys! It’s almost time to celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sunday, September 19th. In honor of this special day I have put together a selection of pirate related books. Here are a few of my favorites.

Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the  Curious Adventure of Mary “Jacky” Faber, Ship’s Boy by L.A. Meyer. I have said it before, but I will say it again, Jacky Faber is one of my favorite characters! In her first adventure she disguises herself as a boy and goes to see with the British Royal Navy in search of pirates.

A Thousand Years of Pirates by William Gilkerson
From the Vikings to Blackbeard, read about the dark and dangerous history of pirates. This book is full of fun facts, cool stories, and awesome pictures. Definitely a pirate treasure.

Airborn by Kenneth Oppel
This book features a different kind of pirates, but they are pirates none the less. These pirates board an airship rather than an ocean ship and the results are pretty much the same-looting and fighting and escaping to hide the stolen treasures.

These are just a few of the titles that feature pirates. Stop in to see the entire selection on display. You might also want to check out this website to prepare for Sunday. You can get a pirate name and find out more information on how to talk like a pirate. Have fun with it, but all you land lubbers be careful who you call a scurvy dog or a bilge rat. Pirates don’t talk kindly to those kinds of insults!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan (also known in the pirate world as Joan Grimm)

Mondays With Megan: Football Books

Well, it’s that time of year again-football season. I myself am not a huge fan, but I respect that fact that football can be a very big deal for many. And even though I may not enjoy watching it, I have definitely enjoyed reading books about football. So, in honor of the official start of the football season, and for all you sports fans out there, here is a list of books that feature football.

Pop by Gordan Korman
After moving to a new town, Marcus strikes up a friendship with Charlie Popovich, a former pro football player. As the two grow closer, Marcus learns that Charlie has early onset Alzheimer’s disease as a result of suffering head injuries during his career. Marcus is willing to risk everything to help his new friend.

No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
Truthful Wallace (the star football player) gives a thumbs-down to a book much to the chagrin of his English teacher, who sentences him to help with a stage version of the book. Wallace is unaware that his plot-improvement suggestions will wind up changing the entire production.

Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allen Zadoff
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Zansky, the second fattest student at his high school, joins the varsity football team to get the attention of a new girl on whom he has a crush.

Rash by Pete Hautman
In the late twenty-first century Bo Marsten is unjustly accused of a causing a rash that plagues his entire high school. He loses it, and as a result, he’s sentenced to work in the Canadian tundra, at a pizza factory that’s surrounded by hungry polar bears. Bo finds prison life to be both boring and dangerous, but it’s nothing compared to what happens when he starts playing on the factory’s highly illegal football team.

Crackback by John Coy
Miles barely recalls when football was fun after being sidelined by a new coach, constantly criticized by his father, and pressured by his best friend to take performance-enhancing drugs.

Roughnecks by Thomas Cochran
Travis Cody prepares for the final game of his high school football career, a rematch with his school’s chief rival.

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
After spending her summer running the family farm and training the quarterback for her school’s rival football team, sixteen-year-old D.J. decides to go out for the sport herself, not anticipating the reactions of those around her.

If the cheerleading side of football is more your speed be sure to check out Kieran Scott’s books I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader, A Non-Blonde Cheerleader in Love, and Brunettes Strike Back.

I hope one of these books helps you get into the fall football spirit!
Happy Reading

˜Megan

TGIF

Seriously, thank goodness it’s Friday! I am ready for the weekend! This has been quite an eventful week for me. I had two interviews with local papers about our successful summer reading program (and my pink hair and pirate clothes). Watch for the articles and pictures next week. I’ll keep you posted. After a week I am starting to get used to the pink hair, or at least it no longer startles me every time I pass a mirror. Others are not so immune to my bubble gum colored head. Last night I had two encounters while out shopping.

1. Overheard in Target-“Look mamí at the lady with pink hair!” FYI,  the speaker, who made no attempt to whisper, was a grown man.

2. Spoken directly to me in the grocery store-“Oh my gosh! I LOVE your hair! Pink is my favorite color! It looks really good on you!” FYI the speaker was a 10-year-old girl and yes, the exclamation points are very necessary. She was very excited to see me. She kind of made my day 🙂

I am not used to all this attention and I am looking forward to a long, quiet weekend with cooler weather, some sort of pumpkin flavored beverage, and some books. My to be read pile keeps growing.

Right now I am reading Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (YAY, YAY, YAY!)

Don’t you just LOVE this cover? It’s gorgeous, and so far the story is captivating. This is the first book in a series that is the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series, though so far I think that both series can stand alone. The Infernal Devices Series takes place in Victorian London where Shadowhunters Will and Jem help Tessa navigate the terrors of the Downworld as they search for her missing brother. I have really just begun, but I know that I have tons of surprises and I am sure a bit of romance to look forward to as I get further into the book this weekend. While you wait for me to finish it and return it to the library I suggest starting the Mortal Instruments series. Book 1, City of Bones is available now! Just between me and you, I would pick Jace Wayland over Edward Cullen any day!

Happy Reading!

˜Megan