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.
Part of the reason that the novel is so well loved, I think, is because it challenged so many of us to think about difficult issues. Whether we continue to teach Mockingbird or choose to move on to another, more modern book, one important lesson from Mockingbird will live on – we will continue to read, and love, our banned books.
My hope is that the Great American Read series and accompanying library programming across the country may draw in some of those Americans who did not read a book last year. Perhaps they will even read one of the banned books on the list and gain an appreciation for the importance of the right to read and intellectual freedom. Either way, I am thrilled to see so many banned and challenged books on a list of America’s favorite reads. My fellow readers, keep reading books that challenge the status quo and make you consider multiple perspectives.
By: Robert Sarwark Trends Last week, the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017 were announced by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Following that announcement, the Banned Books Week Coalition posted a […]
John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was a Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning American Author, best known for the literary classics The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, and East of Eden. Born in Salinas, California, he lived to 66, passing away on December 20th, 1968 in New York City. His writings are taught in schools across the US, which have been challenged often.
Do you ever feel that deep-down sense of comfort that comes from just knowing that you’re in a role that is right for you? For some, it might be their role as a parent; for others, it might be kicking butt and taking names at their job. For Rainbow Rowell, it’s her role as a writer. Rowell, author of several Young Adult (YA) and adult books, including the award winning novel Eleanor & Park, does not pin point one experience or time when she knew she wanted to write; she simply describes herself as having “always been a writer.”
On Feb. 21, PBS premiered ‘And Still I Rise,’ a documentary on the life of Maya Angelou. Using mostly archival footage and interviews with the author herself, it is an opportunity to learn about the author’s life largely in her own words, from her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas, through her years in New York and Ghana, up to her death in 2014.
We come back to the question: what is ‘appropriate’ for public school libraries or libraries in general? It is more likely that this ongoing debate will never be solved. For as long as libraries have collected materials to share with patrons, there is inevitably someone who wants to sanction the types of materials purchased and made accessible to the public. It remains our jobs as librarians, the disseminators of information, to uphold the ideals of intellectual freedom as well as encourage libraries to cultivate written collection development policies and procedures. A well balanced collection should have appeal to each and every patron. We must encourage the act of viewing a piece as a whole and not singling out words or scenes to devalue the novel as a collective entity.
At the Wasilla Public Library in Alaska, community members are lining up at the local council meeting to complain about the highly acclaimed non-fiction book for teens.