Categories
Banned Books

#Banned Books Week. Have You Read These?

Let’s look at the top 10 books that were challenged in 2016

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, ala.org/bbooks/NLW-Top10

I find this year’s list really interesting: there are two books for adults that are on the list. My first thought is: Why is an adult book being brought into a library for children? My second thought was: Did the students request these books or did the librarian think these books were appropriate? I need answers before I pass judgement.

 

This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.

 

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

 

George written by Alex Gino
Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”

 

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.

 

Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

 

Looking for Alaska written by John Green
This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”

 

Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.

 

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

 

Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.

 

Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.

So with the exception of the two adult books, and the Little Bill books, I think the list is fairly typical. Seems like schools and parents don’t want kids reading about teens engaging in sex or about people of the LGBT orientation; which is plain scary. Like kids don’t know these things exist.

Have you read any of these?

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

 

Unconventional Librarian Geography Club

Are you looking for a YA book that discusses issues important to LGBT teens?  You can thank my new bestie Brent Hartinger for bringing it to you!  The Geography Club series contains LGBT teens who aren’t stereotypically gay and the book is about so much more than that!

I had a chance to chat with Brent and ask him to provide some insight into what’s going on in Geography Club, page 99.  Here’s what he said:

So page 99 of Geography Club. It’s a scene of Russel and Gunnar riding their bikes home from school. Gunnar has pressured Russel (who is gay) into going out with Kimberly’s friend Trish because that’s the only way Kimberly will go out with him. Got all that? Yeah. High school drama much?

 One of my favorite things about the Russel Middlebrook Series — one of the things I’m most proud of — is the relationship between the three best friends, Russel, Gunnar, and Min. I probably don’t always achieve what I’m trying to do when I write a book, but so many people have commented to me on how that three-way friendship rings interesting and true that I do sort of feel like I achieved what I had set out to do there. And I think this is one of those scenes where we see why the relationship between Russel and Gunnar ends up such a close one. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? That’s true of friendships too.
Here Russel is slowly realizing: Kimberly is only using Gunnar to get him to get Russel to go out with her friend Trish. And Russel’s starting to realize this isn’t going anywhere good: Trish will eventually learn that Russel’s not into her, and Gunnar will eventually realize that Kimberly’s not into him. But Russel can’t quite say of this because it would mean revealing uncomfortable truths — truths that he’s really not ready to deal with yet. He hasn’t yet learned that NOT revealing those truths only makes things much worse in the long run.
That’s one of the big themes of the whole book: basically, that secrets have power only as long as they ARE secrets. Turn on the lights and lets look at the monster in the closet. Whatever it is, it can’t possibly be as scary in the light as it is in the dark.
I guess the other thing I’d say about this page that, well, in general, I get annoyed when adults dismiss or belittle teenage concerns. If you really want to, you can always find a reason to feel superior to other people, but what’s the point of that? What good does that do? All of us who are adults were teenagers once. Did your own feelings not matter then? Because that’s what you’re saying when you dismiss teenager feelings now.
The point is, I wrote this book more than twelve years ago, and I took the feelings of teenagers seriously. I think that’s pretty evident on this page. Anyway, I’m happy to see it on page 99 and elsewhere in the book. I think it explains a lot of this book’s success.
A lot has changed in the world over the last twelve years, but I’d like to think a lot of the emotions in this book still hold up.

Doncha love getting inside an author’s head?  I do!

 

Categories
Books Diversity Non Fiction Reviews

Out and Equal in the Workplace

out and equal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was excited to be asked to review the book Out & Equal in the Workplace: From Closet to Corner Office, edited by Selisse Berry.  The reason I am interested in this book is that the contents of the book match what I believe: that everyone needs to be treated equally and fairly.  The book is comprised of chapters written by company executives, many of them members of the LGBT community, who have helped push this issue in the workplace.

I was very surprised and pleased to hear that many well-known companies are supportive in this area: Disney, Clorox, Dell, HP, to name a few.  Rosalyn  Taylor O’Neale, Chief Diversity Officer at Campbell Soup company states something that stayed with me:

…”Isms” are a part of my life…My work is to  create ways for people to learn about the impact of biases and stereotypes on minority and majority members. It is my job to change behaviors and help companies become more away and inclusive…

O’Neale’s thoughts are the same as mine.  I feel it is important for readers, especially young readers to read books with characters who look, act, or think like them.  Books are getting better about including minority populations, but the characters are still marginal and usually stereotypical characters.  That’s what pluralism is: including everyone.

 

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

2017 #DiversityReadingChallenge-February How Did You Do?

Time for a check up. How is your diversity reading going? Let’s see how I did in February.

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Oh Oh Oh I loved this book so HARD!!

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK.

Counts as an LGBT main character #7. Kinda like You’ve got Mail
for YA.

I can’t believe I didn’t tell you about it?

Go get it NOW.

I read a few other books but they were of the grown up variety and not appropriate for An Unconventional Librarian.

So that’s it for Feb.What did you read?

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge 2016. How’d You Do?

Diversity Reading Challenge 2016: Recap

Here’s the list from 2016.

Wanna see how I did?

A book written by or about a person of Hispanic origin. I read When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago.
A book in which a character suffers from mental illness. Ooops missed this one.
A book written by or about someone with Spectrum Disorder. I read: Rain Reign by Ann M Martin.
A book with an African-American young woman as a main character. I read The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis.
A book containing an Asian main character. I read What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?: Life in China’s Forbidden City by Chiu Kwong-chiu.
A book with an illustrator of color (think Kadir Nelson). I read: Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The illustrator is Shane W. Evans.The author is Jonah Winter.
A book with an LGBT main character. I read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.
A graphic novel. I read Persepolis. Also doubles as Muslim girl on cover.
A book with a Muslim girl on the cover. I read Persepolis. It also doubles as a graphic novel.
A book written by or for African American young men. (think Walter Dean Myers) I read Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
A book in which the author or main character has a physical disability. I read The Six by Mark Alpert.
The Diary of Anne Frank or Night by Elie Wiesel.  I read Night by Elie Wiesel.
So, while I read a lot of books in 2016, I did not accomplish reading a book about someone with a mental illness. I thought I’d had. I’m sure I can do better in 2017.
How did you do?
Categories
Books Young Adult

My Top 5 Audiobooks for Young Adult Readers (Listeners)

My Top 5 Audiobooks for
Young Adult Readers (Listeners)

 

whatsinmyear

If you’re like me, you’re always consuming books. Whether hardcover, paperback, e-reader, phone, or audiobook, reading can be done ANYWHERE. I love consuming audiobooks in the car, but you can really listen to them no matter what you’re doing. If you like to listen to audiobooks as much as I do, here are my top 5 suggestions, compiled with help from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Also several of these books contain diversity so WINNING.

1. Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. The third novel in the Peculiar Children series is read by Kirby Heyborne and this dude is GREAT with voices. I mean like it took me a while to figure out whether he was English or not; his English accent was ON POINT. And his scary guy voices? Oh em gee!

library-of-souls

2.  Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Fangirl is a great read because if you’re in love with a book or a book series you can relate to our heroine. Also? The handsome-voiced Maxwell Caulfield (from the second Grease movie) helps narrate and he is swoon worthy.

fangirl

3. The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld is read by Alan Cumming. If you’re not sure who he is, no worries. Just plug your earphones in and listen. He can do the voices so convincingly I forgot that he was a Scot doing a German accent. Amazing!

leviathan

4. The Hobbit by JR Tolkien. If you’re not a fan of second breakfast or the hobbit life, give this book a try. The narrator is Rob Inglis and he does so many excellent voices you forget it’s just one guy reading. Plus, his voice of Golem is so disgustingly gross that you will wet your pants. It’s the best thing you hate to listen to.

hobbit

5. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire. Dudes, run out and get this book now. Like NOW. You know why? Cuz it’s read by Lin Manuel Miranda! The story is so awesome and the fact that Manuel-Miranda can speak Spanish (he is a native speaker) puts the book over the top for me! I lived in Texas for 10 years and his voice brought me back to those good old days. Plus the story is so ding dang good.

AristotleandDante

Here’s a bonus: if you’ve already read one of these books, download any book written by Neil Gaiman himself. Because he reads most of his books and there is nothing like hearing the author inflect the words just where they want them to go. It’s kinda like Neil reading you a bedtime story. Full of ghosties and weird things, but whatever right?

 

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

The Curse of the Bridal Chamber by @YeahHunter is My JAM!!

Yall, run to your local bookstore, online store, resident hoarder, or wherever you get books and get this book NOW. Go ‘head. I’ll wait.

bridal-chamber

There. Did’ja get it? Now, here’s what is so AWESOME about this book. Read a little blurb:

The indomitable senior sleuth Imogene and her outrageously endearing Alabama family find themselves in hot water while on a family vacation at a mermaid convention in sunny Florida. When Imogene and her brood, including Goose the bulldog, encounter a dead body floating in the freshwater springs beneath their glass-bottom boat, the local police immediately arrest one of the Alabama visitors for the crime.

Now the aging amateur crime solver must exonerate her own family, but unearthing a killer among the park’s past and present mermaids and employees promises to be no easy task, since so many of them are thrilled that the victim is sleeping with the fishes. And a decades-old curse that has deposited more than one dead body in the Bridal Chamber spring now seems focused on Imogene and her kin, who are wading into dangerous waters indeed. Witty and colorful, The Curse of the Bridal Chamber will keep you enthralled until the final surprising revelation.

So, Imogene is like 70 and her sister is older. But these two rascals don’t let their age get in the way. When I get to be that age I want to be as bad ass as them! These old broads have southern spunk, charm, and family pride that will make you cry from laughing so hard.  The best bit about this book is that two of the characters are gay, but it’s not the driving motivation of the story. They just happen to be that way. It doesn’t detract from the story and it’s in no way in appropriate. It’s good, clean, fun! Heck, even the cursing is cleaner than I’ve seen in recent YA books, although this isn’t targeted to YA.  Mild violence, but again, seen worse from middle grade books.

Imogene, and I believe the correct Southern pronunciation is I as in eye, mo- geen, will be your next favorite read. It’s perfect for EVERYONE!

Totally calling myself Maw Maw when I’m an older person. Heck I think I’d like to be called it now.  Total Diversity Reading Challenge material.

Did I mention MERMAIDS??

 

Categories
Dewey's Read-a-thon Diversity Reading Challenge

Dewey’s 24 Hour #Readathon : Hour 17 Diversity Shelfie Mini Challenge!

Hour 17 Diversity Shelfie Mini Challenge!

If you’re reading a book that contains diverse characters we want to see them! Get out your cameras and take a photo of a diverse book you love or want to read; it’s time for a Diversity Shelfie! Whether you’re in the shot or not show us your diverse book. Tweet a photo, and a title of a diverse book with hashtag #Diversityshelfie to @pamlovesbooks

It’ll be late so if you don’t want to show yourself you don’t have to. Just show us your book!

deweys readathon

 

I’ll chose a random winner and announce it Sunday evening. The winner may choose a prize from the Prizes page at 24hourreadathon.com.  You’ll need to fill out the form noting that you are an hourly challenge winner and the name of the challenge (Diversity).

 

KEEP GOING, YOU CAN DO IT!!

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Books

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter


IT’S IMOGENE DAY!

Imogene in New Orleans by @YeahHunter

Because words aren’t enough, here’s my video review:

Remember, while this isn’t necessarily for teens, there’s nothing raunchy that an older teen couldn’t enjoy. But mostly this is for grown folks. Totally fits the Diversity Reading Challenge.

Also? Stay tuned for an interview with the author!

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

I am Jazz. A Book for Transgendered Children.

Here’s a book I love about a young girl and her family who figured out early on that she was different.

I am Jazz.


A gentle understanding of kids who are born into the wrong bodies.  I can’t express enough how important this is. All kids need acceptance.
Also? This book is OBVIOUSLY a qualifier for the Diversity Challenge!