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.
By Guest Contributor Richard Price – On 2 May 2019, a group led by a Watchung Hills High School student and his father sued the school (and various administrators and educators). The student asserted that he “suffered damages as a result of being required to read Fun Home including emotional, psychological and other damages.”
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.
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.
Rather than using their positions as legislators to exert governmental power where local control and educational expertise are more appropriate, I encourage legislators to leave the work of book selection or rejection to the expertise of educators and librarians.