While many of Rowling’s characters are good role models for her readers, she is also a great role model herself. She shows that personal struggles are nothing to be ashamed of, and that they can be overcome – and in fact, you can even go on to help others. It is fortunate that libraries continue to ensure that children have access to books and authors, including Rowling and Harry Potter, that can inspire them even when those books are challenged.
Since her first novel was published in 1967, S.E. Hinton has been beloved by youth for creating relatable characters and tenderly writing hard truths. Her books continue to be enjoyed by avid and reluctant readers, to be taught in classrooms, and to be challenged by would-be censors.
Juno Dawson, renowned author of 17 books and columnist, celebrates her birthday on July 10.
George was an adventurer. Born into a family of naturalists, she spent much of her time camping near the Potomac River, observing the local flora and fauna, and learning valuable wilderness skills. Her love of nature and the hours spent exploring the outdoors eventually inspired over 100 books, including 1960 Newberry Honor, My Side of the Mountain, and 1973 Newberry winner Julie of the Wolves.
Maurice Sendak’s 1970 book In the Night Kitchen is a dreamy book about a naked little boy named Mickey working to keep from getting baked in a cake. But from the moment the book was published and continuing into the 21st century, Mickey’s nudity has unsettled reviewers, parents and even some librarians.
The works of Donatien Alphonse François (1740-1814), better known as the Marquis de Sade, were banned nearly-immediately upon publication by both the King of France Louis XVI and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and remained so for over two centuries. Combined, his books have been banned for nearly 1000 years (more than 200 years apiece). Who was the man alternatively called the “Divine Marquis” and the author of the “most abominable book ever engendered by the most depraved imagination?”
Raina Telgemeier, who celebrates her 42nd birthday on May 26, is a bestselling, award-winning author and illustrator of graphic novels for kids and young adults. Her work is based on the idea of helping children and young adults realize the value and importance of their own stories, despite the pressures they may feel from family or peers.
Each time I read one, I asked myself, “What makes her books so compelling?” It could be her writing, with its fast-paced plot lines peppered with thoroughly researched details. It could be the twist endings, which keep me on edge as I read up until the very last page. But mostly, I think it’s the way she fearlessly tackles difficult, hard-to-grasp topics: abortion, teen suicide, faith, rape, euthanasia, racism, school shootings, LGBTQ+ rights.
Myracle writes about the struggles of teenagehood in the internet age and the range of bad decisions that can get made (and, unfortunately, fully documented and preserved). Her characters are compelling by virtue of both their at-times shallowness and their devotion to the ideals of friendship.
Living in a post-truth political climate can make it difficult for teachers and school librarians to select reading materials while also appearing neutral. Read excerpts of an interview with Martha Brockenbrough, author of Unpresidented: a Biography of Donald Trump, to learn more about how she approached writing a biography on the 45th president for young readers, challenges to herself and the book, and what she hopes young readers will take away after reading.