Hey book lovers! This week's three to read is full of powerful and dangerous fae, mysterious accusers, and love blossoming during a blackout. Let's check them out!
Every year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom releases a list of the top ten most banned or challenged books of the year. They take surveys and reports from libraries, schools, and independent media; and even then, they reported that “82-97% of book challenges remain unreported and receive no media.”
That being said, of the 273 books the ALA saw mentioned as being challenged, these are those that were the most recurrent.
George by Alex Gino
George focuses on a young, born male, child who knows deep down she is a girl. When the class puts on Charlotte’s Web, George goes through challenges to try and audition for the role of Charlotte.
Despite being an overall hopeful story, this book was restricted, challenged, and banned for LBGTQIA+ content, religious standards, and not “reflecting the values of our community.”
2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
From Amazon, “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.”
This novel has been banned or challenged because of public statements from both authors, a claim of limited storytelling that does not encompass the full picture, and because it “does not encompass racism against all people.”
3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kelly
This novel centers on a 16-year old boy who is mistakenly arrested, violently at that, for shoplifting at a bodega where he was just shopping. The story follows the victim, Rashad, as well as the adopted son of the cop, Quinn, as they must grow up quickly and learn to deal with the reality of police brutality.
All American Boys was banned for a myriad of reasons, including: drug use, alcoholism, anti-police views, and because the topic was “too sensitive” for the times.
4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak is a novel about a freshman in high school learning to be herself and grow in the face of trauma. It is a story of healing against all odds and learning to use your voice to stand up for yourself.
This classic novel was banned or challenged because it was said to be “anti-men” and for its inclusion of sexual assault.
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
This National Book Award winning novel follows Junior, a boy who grows up on an Indian reservation, but transfers to a public school for high school. The school is almost all white, and the only other Indian is the school’s mascot.
This was banned for profanity, sexual references, and alleged misconduct by the author.
6. Something Happened in Our Town (A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice) by Marianne Celano
This children’s story follows two families, one white and one black, as they try to understand a police shooting in their town.
This important story was banned or challenged because of what was thought to be anti-police views. Are you sensing a common theme here yet?
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
If you’re unfamiliar, To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the Finch family: children Scout and Jem and their father, acclaimed lawyer, Atticus. Set in the Great Depression, the children are forced into a situation of watching racism unfold in the justice system as Atticus defends a black man for a crime it is clear he did not commit.
Though this book has been a staple in high school literature classes, it was still challenged for its racial slurs, the image of the “white savior,” and for a negative portrayal of the black experience.
8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Another classic, this novel follows two brothers, one neurodivergent, as they pursue their dreams of opening their own farm and ranch.
This book is yet another banned for racial slurs.
9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The first novel by the beloved (pun-intended) author Toni Morrison, this story follows Pecola, a young girl who wishes for blue eyes so that the world will see her differently.
Contrary to the other books in this list about racial issues, this book was actually banned for sexual abuse and misconduct.
10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This modern classic follows Starr, a young African American teen caught between two worlds: that of her home in the hood, and that of her primarily white private school. When one of Starr’s friends is killed in an incident of police brutality, Starr must face this divide head on and decide where her loyalties lie.
This book was, again, banned for anti-police messaging amongst profanity as well. Thomas described the ban as a “badge of honor.”
Did these bans serve purpose, or are they merely trying to stifle the harsher truths of a modern country riddled with injustice?
How do you feel about banning books? Let us know!
Feature Article with Images from Amazon
Hello and welcome to your weekly guide of what to read this week. These five new YA novels are full of so much fun and adventure you’re just going to burst with reading excitement.
Concrete Roses by Anige Thomas
Image via Amazon
Concrete Roses, tells the story of seventeen year old Maverick Carter who has just found out he’s a father. Maverick knows that a real man takes care of his family and that’s what he’s going to do. However, the only way he knows how to provide for his family is to deal with the King Lords. Not only can he provide for his son but he can also help out his mom who works two jobs while his dad is in jail. But then, he gets an offer to earn money the right way and he takes it, but then someone close to Maverick is murdered and walking away from the King Lords isn’t so easy, so he has to make a decision. He has to decide for himself what it really means to be a man.
2. The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe
Imag via Amazon
The Girls I’ve Been, tells the story of Nora O’Malley who is the daughter of a con artist. She grew up in the footsteps of her mother she has been a lot of different girls but her mom fell for the last mark instead of conning him, so Nora had to pull of an escape. It’s been five years and Nora has been playing normal at school, but time is up when three things happen to her. Wes, her ex boyfriend walked in on her and her girlfriend Iris, and even though they’re all friends, Iris is a secret. To make matters worse the next day the three of them have to go to the bank to deposit money. To add more salt to the wound two guys are robbing the bank, and now Nora and her friends are being held hostage, but what those robbers don’t know is Nora is something else entirely different than a regular hostage.
3. Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala
Image via Amazon
Be Dazzled, tells the story of Raffy who has a talent for creating the perfect outfit. His art is his life and this year is the biggest cosplay competition where he can win sponsorship to art school. Unfortunately, his ex, Luca is also competing and he’s his biggest competition. Raffy and Luca used to be a great team, they even met in the rhinestone section, but then Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s determination to make the perfect creation caused their relationship to backfire.Now, Raffy has no choice but to partner with Luca on his most important project, all while dealing with feelings for the boy who broke his heart.
4. Written in Starlight by Isbael Ibanez
Image via Amazon
Written in Starlight, tells the story of Cataline Quiroga, who has been banished to the Yanu Jungle. Catalina must do everything she can to survive and escape to jungle. It is her duty to reclaim her throne for herself. Then, Catalina is saved from a jugaur from Manuel, the son of a former general and from there a plan forms. In the jungle is where the city of gold is hidden and home to the Illari people who she could form an alliance with. However, the Ilarl are dealing with their own battle, with the jungle turning everything they love to waste. Catalina is a seer and even though she should be able to help them, but she can’t. She has to find her true calling in order to stop the corruption before it destroys the jungle.
5. This Will be Funny Someday by Katie Henry
Image via Amazon
This Will be Funny Someday, tells the story of sixteen year old Izzy who lets other people do the talking for her. Her boyfriend talks for her at school and at home she can’t get a word in with her older siblings and parents. Then, when she accidentally walks into a comedy club and actually performs, and the experience was great. She then befriends Mo, a fellow comedian who is more outgoing than Izzy is. However, Mo is a college student, so Izzy lies and says she’s one too. Now, she’s sneaking out to perform in comedy clubs, and she has let go of being the perfect daughter and girlfriend. However, her boyfriend is becoming suspicious, but Izzy loves her new life and soon enough her new and old life collide in a hilarious way, but either way Izzy has to choose to be who she really is or go back to hiding.
Featured Image via Amazon
Curious to know what some of your favorite best-selling authors thought about Biden's inauguration? We got their twitter reactions!
You may recognize the name Angie Thomas; she’s the author who wrote The Hate U Give (or THUG for short), a debut novel about an African American teenage girl, Starr, whose friend is killed in an incident of police brutality. Starr is forced to decide between her two worlds, (her home and her majority white school) in deciding where she stands. Will she fight for Khalil or hide?
The book, rightfully, blew up, gaining much critical acclaim. It has even spent 200 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Yep, you read that right. Two hundred weeks! It was also adapted for film in 2018, getting a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossing over $30 million worldwide.
Now, today, Angie Thomas releases her third book, Concrete Rose. This novel is a prequel to the events of THUG, and it centers on Maverick, Starr’s father and a fan favorite character as he reckons with being in the middle of a life in the hood while his first child is born.
And there’s even more excitement with this publication–Angie just tweeted that Concrete Rose is in development for film adaptation! Though it’s been delayed by Covid-19, the fact that it’s in the works is enough excitement to leave us refreshing Angie’s Twitter.
There has been a lot of hype around the book, and rightfully so considering the love for THUG. And today, on publishing day, something adorable happened.
Nic Stone, author of popular novel Dear Martin, and Angie Thomas are best friends. Angie had even tweeted that readers of both authors may notice some hidden references to Nic’s work in Concrete Rose. And today, Nic decided to surprise Angie for publication.
There’s a video of Nic approaching Angie’s Ring Doorbell camera and then immediately hiding, only to crouch up and surprise Angie once she comes to the door. The sweetest moment follows as the two laugh and celebrate Angie’s publication day. You can watch this moment on Angie’s Twitter and die of cuteness with us.
There has been so much love for Angie Thomas and her work in bringing stories from POC communities to life. Join Bookstr in celebrating the release of Concrete Rose today by sending Angie some love (though approaching her door is reserved for Nic only).
Feature Image VIA Publisher’s Weekly