New York Times Obituary photo of Jean Craighead George

Happy Belated Birthday, Jean Craighead George!

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.

Portrait of Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) by Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo

Happy Birthday to the Marquis De Sade!

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?”

Jodi Picoult

Happy Birthday, Jodi Picoult!

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.

bee

Banning the Birds and the Bees: Challenges to Children’s Books about Sexuality

As a librarian I believe everyone should have access to the information they need, but as a parent I can understand how the lack of parental control presented by school programs and unrestricted library books can be very unnerving. Much like protests to the teaching of sexuality education in schools, books on the subject are challenged in libraries due to the role they play in the spread of such important information.