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Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge Lists Non Fiction

It’s Martin Luther King Jr Day! Books and Acts of Service

It’s MLK Day and I hope that if you have the day off you are doing something for others. It doesn’t have to be a large and involved act of service. Do something, anything, for someone else.  Here are a few books about MLK for you:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is…?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is...?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

 

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

You know I can’t post a book list without at least one Kadir Nelson, right? Want some ideas to talk to the kiddos about? Follow this link which will take you to Scholastic’s website where you’ll find lesson plans and other resources about the man, his legacy, and how you can be of service to others. Check it out and have a great day ON!

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Banned Books Books

Banned Books Week Starts TODAY!

We all know the importance of knowledge and learning, right? I don’t want to waste anymore time talking about why banning books is dumb. Let’s celebrate the great books that have been challenged and you can decide for yourself what you think.

1. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

perks of being a wallflower

I love this tiny book so hard. First because it is set in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA and second because the setting is the 80s which is also when I grew up, although the author is a couple years younger than I am. Our experiences are kind of similar: no cell phones, record players, pac man and hairspray to name a few.  This is a coming of age tale that is beautifully told about the man character who suffers from some dangerous mental health issues.

Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

I am a tad confused about why books about teens and intended for teens should be completely sterile. Kids want to read about situations that are similar to what they are experiencing; at least when they are reading realistic fiction, right? So why then, do people insist on challenging books that  “…deals with sexual situations and drug use.” ?

Again, this is a title you should read for yourself.

2. Looking for Alaska by John Green

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This is by far my fave John Green book.

Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

Oh how this title reminds me of some of the books we read in high school: the what’s it all about and how do i make a difference in this world type of books!

The book was challenged because of sexual content.  Again. Teens, experimenting with sex. It’s what they do, right?  This one, however, is rather mild considering what I’ve read in other books.  It’s a botched BJ and while that might not be appropriate material for young teens or even middle grade readers, I guarantee your older teen has read worse. Or heard worse on the bus. Check it out for yourself before you pass judgement. As always, parents have a right to decide what’s best for their own kiddos, just not for everyone.

3. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

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Ironically, Fallen Angels was

Challenged on the Danbury Middle School reading list in Toledo, Ohio (2013) because of inappropriate language. The book depicts the reality of the Vietnam War, with sometimes gruesome descriptions of combat and frequent foul language from soldiers.

But here’s the question that I’d like answered: what kind of language would you expect soldiers to use? I know the books are for young teens but depicting soldiers using language that is a little too clean, might be a little too unrealistic.  I don’t know about where you live, but around here, Fallen Angels is on many schools’ required reading lists.

Have you read it?

4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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Please don’t confuse Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison with The Invisible Man by HG Wells!

As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying “battle royal” where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison’s nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.

 

For the same reasons that Invisible Man is an important read to understand the struggles of the African American community, Invisible Man has also been challenged. To be sure, the book contains strong language but you cannot properly depict the struggles of that era by using tame language, I think.  Either way, it’ll make you think. This book is so so so well written.

 

5. The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

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There is so much to learn about the Middle Eastern region and so little time to read.

Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the library–along with the thirty thousand books within it–will be destroyed forever.

In a war-stricken country where civilians–especially women–have little power, this true story about a librarian’s struggle to save her community’s priceless collection of books reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge know no boundaries. Illustrated by Jeanette Winter in bright acrylic and ink.

Sounds great, right? Other people obviously don’t feel the same way and have challenged the book “because of violent illustrations and storyline” which  is rather irrational because what would kind of story do you expect to hear when reading about a war torn country? Perhaps the age group was not appropriate for the book.

 

 

Categories
Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge Lists Non Fiction

It’s MLK Day! Books and Acts of Service

It’s MLK Day and I hope that if you have the day off you are doing something for others. It doesn’t have to be a large and involved act of service. Do something, anything, for someone else.  Here are a few books about MLK for you:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is…?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is...?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

 

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

You know I can’t post a book list without at least one Kadir Nelson, right? Want some ideas to talk to the kiddos about? Follow this link which will take you to Scholastic’s website where you’ll find lesson plans and other resources about the man, his legacy, and how you can be of service to others. Check it out and have a great day ON!

Categories
Diversity Diversity Reading Challenge Lists Non Fiction

It’s MLK Day! Books and Acts of Service

It’s MLK Day and I hope that if you have the day off you are doing something for others. It doesn’t have to be a large and involved act of service. Do something, anything, for someone else.  Here are a few books about MLK for you:

Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by Doreen Rappaport, Bryan Collier (Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is…?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

Who Was Martin Luther King, Jr.? (Who Was/Is...?) by Bonnie Bader, Nancy Harrison (Illustrations), Elizabeth Wolf(Illustrator)

 

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King Jr., Kadir Nelson (Illustrations)

You know I can’t post a book list without at least one Kadir Nelson, right? Want some ideas to talk to the kiddos about? Follow this link which will take you to Scholastic’s website where you’ll find lesson plans and other resources about the man, his legacy, and how you can be of service to others. Check it out and have a great day ON!

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books Lists

Three for the Tree

Three for the Tree

Here are three books with female heroines

that your tree will love.

threefortree Collage

The Yearbook by Carol Masciola

Misfit teen Lola Lundy falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library and wakes up to find herself 80 years in the past. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, and she realizes she’s seen his senior portrait in a ragged old yearbook in the storage room. By the end of the dance, Lola begins to see a way out of her disastrous Twenty First Century life: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But major mental illness lies in Lola’s family background. Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into an elaborate, romantic hallucination based on the contents of an old yearbook?

Who doesn’t love old yearbooks? Time Travel? Count me in!

Half in Love with Death by Emily Ross

It’s the era of peace and love in the 1960s, but nothing is peaceful in Caroline’s life. Since her beautiful older sister disappeared, fifteen-year-old Caroline might as well have disappeared too. She’s invisible to her parents, who can’t stop blaming each other. The police keep following up on leads even Caroline knows are foolish. The only one who seems to care about her is Tony, her sister’s older boyfriend, who soothes Caroline’s desperate heart every time he turns his magical blue eyes on her.

Tony is convinced that the answer to Jess’s disappearance is in California, the land of endless summer, among the runaways and flower children. Come with me, Tony says to Caroline, and we’ll find her together. Tony is so loving, and all he cares about is bringing Jess home. And so Caroline follows, and closes a door behind her that may never open again.

Inspired by a true story. Thriller = Must Read

 Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck–and helpless–in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had.

Kids and civil rights? Sign me up!

Three good books for book lovers!