We in libraries can do nothing to ameliorate Mr. Rushdie’s physical pain. We can and should, however, proudly display and recommend his works. To support Mr. Rushdie and to celebrate his works is not to attack a religion. It is only to excoriate, as we should, the mindless and soulless adherence to the wrong-headed, hateful, and evil interpretation of a religion promulgated by mere–and mistaken–men.
Despite Polacco’s talent to weave and illustrate a story, her books are not always well received. During a school visit, students read Polacco essays entitled “My Family”. One little girl was told her family, which included two mothers and adopted siblings, was not a “real family”. Outraged, Polacco went home that day and wrote In Our Mothers’ House, a story that shares the love and acceptance of a family of two mothers and adopted children of various ethnicities.
The book-banning controversy around Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl isn’t an intellectual freedom issue, but one of legacy and privacy. As we make decisions about what materials to include in which lessons and which libraries, it’s important to remember and honor the author’s wishes.
Forman was born on June 5, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. Though she says she’s been a writer since she could form her letters, she began her formal writing career as a journalist for Seventeen magazine, then moved on to freelancing for several other major magazine titles. She began writing novels when she was 34, and published the award winning If I Stay in 2009. The book catapulted her into the spotlight, earning a spot on the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List, and winning the New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) award in 2009 and the Indies Choice Book Award in 2010. If I Stay went on to be made into a movie in 2014, starring Chloë Grace Moretz.
Authors speak out on how book challenges have affected them and how to respond. Their advice is to take back the narrative from challengers to center the conversation on works’ benefits and insist that challengers own up to ulterior motives.
Happy Birthday to graphic novelist and cartoonist Raina Telgemeier! Anyone that has worked in a public or school library within the past 10 years probably hasn’t gone a week without a young reader looking for Smile or Drama. A winner of five Eisner Awards, Telgemeier has effectively engaged adolescent readers through telling relatable stories through the graphic medium.
Cooper’s work was heavily influenced by her childhood. She grew up in a war torn England during World War II. She recalls spending many nights as a child in her family’s bomb shelter, falling asleep to the sound of her mother’s voice telling her stories. Because of the strict curfew after dark, she spent a lot of time indoors, devouring any books she could get her hands on, especially fairy stories. Cooper attended university at a time when C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were teaching at Oxford, and the English curriculum was shaped by the two famous novelists. Although she never knew them personally, she and her classmates learned to “believe in dragons”, thanks to the wild imagination of these two men.
Happy Birthday to Harper Lee, born on April 28, 1926, in Monroeville, Alabama! Lee’s name is inextricably linked with her first novel To Kill a Mockingbird which has been both celebrated and challenged since its publication in 1960. Throughout it all, Mockingbird and Lee have remained as a staple of literature and continue to be a springboard for discussing the history of racial tensions in the American South.
In a powerful memoir and manifesto, George M. Johnson’s All Boys Aren’t Blue has made waves since the book’s publication in 2020. With its accolades keeping pace with the number of states Johnson’s book has been challenged in, All Boys Aren’t Blue is a captivating, personal narrative told for those who have been erased—and continue to face erasure.
Today is bestselling author Simone Elkeles’ 52nd birthday. To date, she has penned 11 novels, including the award winning young adult Perfect Chemistry series. She is also a dog lover, former hockey and Girl Scout mom, and Chicago native living in Florida.
In 2017, Perfect Chemistry faced a book challenge at Academy School District 20’s Challenger Middle School Library in Colorado Springs. A mother of a 6th grade student found the book amongst her child’s things and, after reading the book, objected to its place at a middle school library due to profanity, alcohol use, gangs and gun violence, and sexual situations.