Categories
Children Young Adult

Big Issues in YA from #KidLitCon in Hershey, PA

Big Issues in YA

Last week I had the thrill of  a lifetime to chair the committee and bring KidLitCon to Hershey PA! Hershey was a great venue and I’ll talk more about that later but right now I want to share with you a session I co-hosted with Donna Gaffney. Donna is a therapist and very knowledgeable about kids books and uses them in therapy with her clients. She’s also a very cool person.

We talked about issues that kids and teens face today and books that represent these issues in literature. Turning to books in a time of crisis is very common and helps the reader process their situation.  We listed the issues on poster paper and then encouraged the audience to list book titles under the appropriate issues.  This link should is a pdf of the results: BIG ISSUES in YA LITKidlitcon17

I think you’ll find the lists very interesting. Many thanks to Donna for quickly compiling the list. I hope this resource helps you.

More to come about KidLitCon in another post!

 

 

 

 

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Children

Mommy, Why’s Your Skin So Brown? by Maria Leonard Olsen

If you’re white, you probably don’t get asked too many questions about your heritage. To be sure, you probably identify as Irish, Italian, Polish, or whatever. But have you ever gotten asked why your skin is pink or white or whatever color it is? Probably not. Mommy, Why’s Your Skin So Brown? Is a question one mother was asked by her children. Kids are naturally curious and there probably isn’t any judgement in the question, they just want to know why your skin looks one way while their skin looks another. 17915819 The author answers the child’s questions with a candor that a child can understand: we are different colors because you are a mix of both Mommy’s color and Daddy’s color. People are all different shades of colors. The author and I share a similar problem:  I’ve been the recipient of these kinds of questions all my life and so have my children.  The mother in the story handles it beautifully. I do not think I’ve always handled these difficult questions as tactfully or as gently as this mother does.  There is a lesson in this book for everyone.  This title would make a great addition to any family’s (or school’s) library. My takeaway? Stop asking questions. Just let people BE the color they are! This book qualifies for the Diversity Challenge. Why are YOU the color you are?

Categories
Banned Books

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom To Read

All this week I’ll be celebrating banned books week by highlighting challenged or banned books. Why is banned books week important? According to the American Library Association (of which I’m a member),

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

As a parent, you have a right to decide what your own children should be exposed to, but I strongly believe that you do not have the right to dictate what other children have access to. So, let’s celebrate the books that have been challenged and see if you’ve read any of them and you can make the decision for yourself. Each day of Banned Books Week I’ll highlight several of the titles that were challenged or banned last year. Let’s see how they stack up. Also? This is a blog hop so I’ll giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to the winner!

Today we’re featuring books by African Americans.

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?

Next lets visit  Ralph Ellison.

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.

Have you read either of these books or anything by Walter Dean Myers?

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