Monday, October 4, 2021

It's Monday - One Book Celebrated!

   Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and 

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they and others have been reading! Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading! 

           First, my laptop has been in for repair. It started acting funny after last Monday, so I took it in, hoping it only needed some work that I didn't know how to do. Finally, they finished the tune-up and I picked it up yesterday. It's working much better! While I love my phone and "sometimes" use the IPad, it's harder to write many words on them. So, I'm only sharing You Can't Say That today, one I should have shared last week during Banned Books Week. 
              Thanks to Candlewick for the copy! HERE is one article fromThe Horn Book with the top ten most challenged books of 2020.

          Second, remember that nominations are open from October 1st - 15th for Cybil's awards. You can access the site HERE! The book must have been published from October 16, 2020, through October 15, 2021.

          Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world's leading writers about children's books and the people who create them. You can read much more about him on his website HERE. In this book, he shares interviews of thirteen authors who discuss their lives as young readers, and as authors who have faced criticism and censorship challenges for their books. At first, I thought it might be rather dry reading about those books and what has happened to them through the years, also most recently. I was wrong! 
          In Marcus's inciteful questioning, each author not only speaks of their journey with challenges, but their early reading experiences, who tried to squash their very beings, but those who inspired them to keep going. For example, Dav Pilkey (Captain Underpants author) struggled in school, kept going through drawing comics in spite of one teacher who also kept tearing up his work, telling him he "couldn't spend the rest of his life making silly books". Pilkey, like most of the other authors interviewed, found that those who made challenges to the books had not read them, only small parts, assuming things that were not true. In the final interview with Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give was challenged because it was said to be 'anti-police', yet when one reads the book, the character of Uncle Carlos is shown to be a good cop in that particular neighborhood.
          Fascinating talk about the early and still challenged books are included like Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesléa Newman and And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richarson and Peter Parnell. And, I didn't know that Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña continues to be challenged because some complain that it doesn't use proper English. The book titled It's Perfectly Normal, a sex education book for children by Robie H. Harris, continues to be challenged for its "pornography and child abuse". In her interview and a few others, she shares fascinating work by the Bank Street College of Education. If you have wondered, yes, R.L. Stine is one of the interviewees, of interest because he is that full-of-scares author. 
           Also intriguing is to read the books that each author loved while growing up. Dav Pilkey thrived on Mad magazine, Meg Medina loved her grandmother's story-telling, the Bible was important to Katherine Patterson, and Angie Thomas spent a lot of time at her library where she discovered Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Later, hip-hop was her inspiration. 
           Inspiration and, for me, awe is found in the stories of librarians and teachers, alongside authors, and sometimes their students, who stand up to defend the right of people, kids included, to choose what they wish to read. Once a book is published and purchased by a library, it is protected by our Constitution! 

There is more and more to delight!

           Here are the other authors who are interviews and one book among others: 

      Susan Kuklin: Beyond Majenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
      David Levithan: Boy Meets Boy
      Meg Medina: Burn Baby Burn
      Katherine Patterson: Bridge to Terabithia
      Sonya Sones: What My Mother Doesn't Know
       A comprehensive list for each author and their books in the back matter, along with acknowledgments and source notes. This is a book that will entice you to read more about censorship, more of these books if you haven't already, and a book that offers a lesson in how to do extraordinary interviews!

What's Next: Still reading the new Scary Stories for Young Foxes: The City by Christian McKay Keidicker and I have an arc of Eugene Yelchin's The Genius under the Table

Happy Reading to you all!       


  1. Oh no, that teacher that tore up Dav Pilkey's work! It reminds me of a story my husband tells of a guy he grew up with. The kid was always drawing cars in class, and a teacher told him, "You'll never make a living doing that!" He grew up to design cars for Mitsubishi, making a good living doing exactly that! We teachers have to be more careful what we say... So glad your laptop is working better and that you're back posting!

    1. Thanks, Ruth. I love (hate!) your story, imagine that Dad Pilkey & Leonard Marcus would love to hear it, too!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading You Can't Say That - and thanks for the recommendation. I so enjoy hearing successful authors' past experiences. I checked just to see if I might be lucky enough for it to be on Overdrive (they're often quick to get new books), but not yet. And I somehow skipped right over Banned Books Week, this year. I am not teaching Children's Lit this semester, so that's probably why (we make a big deal of it in that class). Thanks for sharing, Linda, and I'm glad to hear your laptop is back in working order!

    1. I hope you really enjoy this book, Shaye. It was a fascinating read!

  3. Yay—I'm glad you got your laptop fixed! And congrats on being a Cybils judge for poetry—so exciting!!! This book sounds like such a powerful read—I can imagine there would be a lot to learn about censorship. I can't believe anyone would try to censor a book for "improper English"—good grief. And wow, Dav Pilkey's teacher was comically wrong—but that is still literally so horrible that anyone would say that to a child. Why do some people become teachers, I wonder. Anyway, thank you for the thoughtful and thought-provoking review, Linda!

    1. Thanks! Having the laptop back is a big relief! Yes, I agree that teachers might be kinder in their assessment of what the future holds for students who do things in different ways! The book is worth a read if you can get to it!

  4. I wasn't even aware of this book. Leonard S. Marcus is really wonderful about writing so many books tackling kidlit.

    1. If you can find it, Earl, it's an illuminating read! I agree about Leonard Marcus, a wonderful writer of reviews and so much more!


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