Banned Books Week (BBW) September 24, 2011 - October 1, 2011
BBW is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. There are many books that have been challenged over the years--can you believe that Harry Potter has been actually challenged? What about Twilight? In fact, both those books and more have been challenged--and are still being protested today.
So why should you care about Banned Books week? Simple, because you can help protect your rights by reading! Imagine if those that were trying to ban books were successful--you would miss out on a whole lot of great reading choices. I mean, where would you be without the Edward x Bella x Jacob drama? Or, if one of the great reads from the list below had been banned--think of how empty your life would be! So find out why Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes was challenged, and what had people up in arms about Gossip Girl. What is Alice saying that people don't want asked?
Stop by the YA section to find any of these books (and more) on our Banned Books Display and find out for yourself. Happy reading!
Congratulations to Catherine, Claire, Daly and Julia winners of the first ever Teen Book Trailer Video Contest! Here are their winning videos.
First Place: Ingo
For it's creative cinemetography including underwater scenes, this video shares First Place. Filmmakers Julia Cornacchia and Catherin Gorey demonstrate excellence in storyboarding, script writing and directing. Ingo tells the story of Sapphy, who hears the call of the sea in this fantasy tale of longing, mystery and magic.
First Place: Room
Filmmakers Claire & Daly Naughton share First Prize for their dramatic and suspenseful retelling of this dark and twisted tale of a captive woman and her young son. This video demonstrated excellence in video production, notable editing and strong performances by the actors.
Love stories have been around forever, but for way too long, only certain relationships were written about with honesty, humor, poignancy, and hope. But in the last few years, an explosion of books with LGBTQ characters have appeared, running the gamut of fantasy thrillers to hilarious farces. Check out our recommendations here or in the teen lounge.
The first book in Michelle Cooper's Montmaray Journals tells the story of the impoverished Montmaray royal family on their tiny (fictional) sovereign island in the Atlantic Ocean between England and Spain, living shoulder to shoulder with their dwindling populace (now just five or six subjects remain). Princesses Sophie, Veronica, and Henry maintain their monarchical existence by fishing, keeping hens, and milking goats, and occasionally selling off one of the few opulent pieces that remain from Montmaray's long-past period of wealth and influence; the rest of their energy goes into restraining Veronica's lunatic father, King John.
Narrator Sophie occasionally feels overwhelmed by the circumstances of their life--it's the 1930s and the unrest that menaces Europe is beginning to creep its way toward their rocky island and their relatives in England; she worries that she lacks the fortitude of her stubbornly intellectual cousin Veronica and her determinedly tomboyish sister, who rejects her full name of Henrietta. But when Nazis invade their island, a murder is committed, and she discovers a complicated secret about her brother, the future King Toby, Sophie finds she has all the strength she needs.
YA books can be hilarious, sensitive, mysterious, frightening, all of the above. They can deal with friendships, relationships, school, sports, creativity, crimes, and lots more. In the Teen Lounge, we also have books that address some of the toughest issues to talk about, including death and grieving. Here are list of books to read when you're going through a difficult time yourself, helping a friend deal, or just ready to read about how some people feel when the worst things happen.
The Savage, David Almond YA Real Almond
After his father died, Blue Baker began writing a story about a feral boy who can act out all the loneliness and anger that Blue feels. But then the violent creature Blue has created emerges into the world.
Hate List, Jennifer Brown YA Real Brown
Five months ago, Valerie's boyfriend, Nick, brought a gun to school and killed six classmates and then himself. Now Valerie must return to school, mourning her boyfriend, her classmates, and the things she thought she knew.
The Truth About Forever, Sarah Dessen YA Real Dessen
Since her father's death, Macy has led a tightly-controlled life of good grades and perfect behavior, but how long will she be able to pretend she's fine?
Before I Die, Jenny Downham YA Real Downham
Tessa knows her chemotherapy has stopped working, and she's terrified of dying before she has experienced life.
If I Stay, Gayle Forman YA Real Forman
Mia was a talented cellist with loving parents, an energetic little brother, and a rocker boyfriend. Now her family is dead, her boyfriend is at her bedside while she's in a coma, and her spirit must decide whether she can fight for a life full of grief, without her family.
Choices, Deborah Lynn Jacobs, YA SciFi Jacobs
Kathleen is a reality-hopper, moving between alternate worlds since the death of her brother. Though she doesn't know which world she'll wake up into, she does realize that her choices shape the lives she experience, including the discovery of a cute boy named Luke and the possibility of getting her brother back.
Last Summer of the Death Warriors, Francisco X. Stork YA Real Stork
After his sister's death, Pancho ends up sad and angry at a home for boys, where he meets D.Q., dying of a rare cancer, who teaches him how to focus on living.
Hard Hit, Ann Warren Turner YA Real Turner
Mark Warren has an almost-perfect life, until his father is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The free-verse narrative reveals Mark's struggle to cope as his father succumbs to his disease.
Broken Soup, Jenny Valentine YA Real Valenti
Rowan's been worrying about her grief-stricken mother, caring for her little sister, and hoping for a glimpse of her preoccupied father since her brother's death. Then one day a strange boy appears who stirs up questions about her brother and her ability to build a new relationship.
Hero by Perry Moore
Thom Creed's father is a former superhero, bitter about the end of his super days and determined that Thom won't stick out in society the way he did. So that's why Thom doesn't tell his dad when he discovers his new powers, or when he decides to try out for the League, an organization of superheroes dedicated to protecting the city. But Thom has other secrets he tries to keep from his father too, like the boy with whom he's started a complicated, tentative relationship.
Once in the League, Thom joins a group of unexpected heroes with unusual powers--maybe not the kind kids always dreamed of. Scarlett can start fires, but she can't always stop herself from setting things alight. Typhoid Larry's hacking cough comes along with his ability to make anyone sick; Ruth can see the future, but the knowledge has made her cynical and unhappy. Moore tells a remarkable story, funny, terrifying, and comic-book thrilling, about the power to find yourself.
Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande
YA Real BRANDE
Raised in a close-minded religious household, Mena’s worldview, already shaken by her churchmates’ treatment of a gay student, is further disrupted by a science unit on evolution and by a burgeoning relationship with her smart, funny, sensitive lab partner, Casey.
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
YA Real CRUTCHE
Overweight outcast Eric Calhoune begins to slim down as a result of his competitive swimming, a transformation which threatens to shake his long-term friendship with troubled Sarah Byrnes, a fellow misfit covered in scars from a early childhood incident. But Eric refuses to let Sarah slip away into silence.
Charles Darwin’s most famous accomplishment--On the Origin of Species--almost remained unpublished, out of deference to his intelligent, much-loved, and deeply religious wife, Emma, who feared for his soul.
The Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
YA Real FRANKLIN
Hank’s Asperger’s syndrome has always made him a little awkward around girls. But that may make him the perfect fit for Liana, who has developed a bit of a reputation for kissing too many boys and has decided to take the summer off from making out. But as the two share more of their interests with each other--music for him and astronomy for her--they begin to develop a satisfying, if unexpected, romance.
Through a series of poems told from two perspectives and in a variety of forms, a friendship turns to romance and unfolds, with trauma and joy, from there.
Teen Love: On Relationships by Kimberly Kirberger
YA 306.7 KIRGBERG
Kirberger delivers compassionate, thoughtful answers to teens letters asking questions about love and relationships--with quotes, cartoons, poems, and stories to illustrate the issues discussed.
Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan
YA Real LEVITHA
Paul meets Noah--the cute new boy in town--at the bookstore and the two fall in love. But Paul’s ex-boyfriend returns, and Paul gets tripped up by his complicated feelings for a boy he stills cares about and the importance of his new relationship with Noah. The sweet and deeply-felt romantic concerns unfold against a backdrop of a fantastical school where the cheerleaders ride Harleys and the quarterback--Infinite Darlene--is also the homecoming queen.
Street Love by Walter Dean Myers
YA Real MYERS
In this modern-day Romeo and Juliet story told in verse, intelligent, ambitious Damien meets strong but struggling Junice, determined to keep her little sister with her after their mother’s imprisonment.
Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet by Kashmira Sheth
YA Real SHETH
The third of three daughters, 16-year-old Jeeta watches as her mother attempts to arrange marriages for her older sisters while despairing of ever finding a husband for sharp-tongued Jeeta. But watching her two sisters’ relationships, one contented and one deeply troubled, and secretly spending time with a boy named Neel, Jeeta begins to wonder if the traditions in her hometown of Mumbai may not offer the best path to happiness.
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick
YA Real SONNENB
Steven’s a dedicated drummer, a sarcastic sort-of-nerd, a sometimes-confused best friend to fellow musician Annette, and overwhelmed brother to leukemia patient Jeffrey. As Jeffrey’s illness strains his family almost to the point of breaking, Steven finds that his friends--especially Annette--and even his distant crush, Renee, can keep a guy on his feet at the worst of times.
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
YA Real STORK
Marcelo’s father worries that Marcelo’s school for people with cognitive disabilities has not fully prepared him for the real world, which he must learn to navigate with his high-functioning autism. So Mr. Sandoval insists that Marcelo spend the summer working at his law firm, where Marcelo meets Jasmine, who enjoys his company as he is, and uncovers a mystery he feels compelled to follow to the finish.
The end of the school year can leave everyone feeling a little tired and a little roughed up. Recover with these books about people who learn, lots of times the hard way, to like themselves a little bit more.
YA REAL Brande
Smart, hardworking, Snickers-loving Cat decides to become her own science fair project. She’ll forgo TV, cars, and processed foods to live like prehistoric humans. She loses weight and produces a killer science project, but all her research didn’t prepare for the attention she gets with her hot new body. Is she still the same old Cat, or has she evolved into someone new?
YA REAL Bray
Fifty teenage beauty queens. One plane crash on a desert island. All their combined pageant “talents” didn’t prepare them for this scenario. They’re not in danger of being winnowed out for makeup flaws or imperfect bodies anymore; but the lack of food and water might do it instead.
YA REAL Flake
Maleeka doesn’t have the right clothes, the right friends, or even the right skin. But neither does her teacher, Miss Saunders, who has a huge birthmark across her face--and doesn’t seem to mind it. Trying to keep her grieving mother afloat, and her own social life intact, Maleeka may not even have the time to learn to love herself the way she is.
YA BIO Gantos
YA author Jack Gantos writes about his harrowing year spent in prison, during which he learned to replace his risky adventures with the far more fulfilling effort and focus required to become a successful writer.
YA REAL Going
Liam is a talented athlete and a popular kid, but his so-so grades aren’t enough for his dad; he moves out of his parents’ house and in with his cross-dressing uncle, Aunt Pete, where he learns to meet his own expectations, and not everyone else’s.
YA REAL Saenz
Living in a residential treatment center for his drinking and post-traumatic stress disorder, Zach slowly discovers how to reclaim his life, his happiness, and his sense of self.
YA 305.235 Strong
Photographers, writers, athletes, politicians and more all contribute their essays on boys facing challenges in life and coming out stronger.
YA 305.235 Strong
A collection of stories about how a variety of talented, driven, and sometimes frightened girls transformed themselves into remarkable women—like Eleanor Roosevelt and Maya Angelou—who have helped change the world.
Real-life teenager Rae describes her panic attacks and social anxiety like this: 'It's a game of catch-22 I constantly play with myself. If I keep acting normal, I hope one day I will be, but every time I try, I just let myself down. I'm so entirely sick of this game.'
YA GN Yang
In three intertwining stories, a mythical monkey wants desperately to become a more powerful god, while all-American teenager, Danny, cringes at the presence of his cousin, a walking Chinese stereotype and Taiwanese-American Jin tries to balance his background and his urge to blend in.
YA REAL Zusak
At 19 years old, Ed has basically led a pointless life, until the night he stops a bank robbery and starts receiving anonymous notes that lead him to help others in need and turn his life into one of meaningful action.
For the past few weeks, one of the most exciting parts of my day has regularly been the news of one or two more characters cast in the upcoming Hunger Games movie. Katniss, Peeta, and Gale have all been chosen, and the tributes are coming in fast now. Today, two more tributes we added. Stanley Tucci also joined the cast as Caesar Flickerman, for whom I have a very clear picture in my head, and it didn't look quite like him. What do you think?
If you haven't looked yet, this slideshow gives a quick rundown of the characters cast so far. I generally feel pretty positive about these choices, but I'm reserving judgment until I see who the producers pick for Haymitch. So what about you? Are you all convinced?
That's right on June 6th and June 7th Teen Librarian, Erica Leone and Children's Librarian Kiera Parrott will be in the house! We come bearing awesome and entertaing booktalks about our new favorite teen reads just in time for the summer.
*In efforts to remain green we have made the Middlesex Booktalking Flyer available in PDF here.*