Archive | September, 2010

Young Adult Art Gallery Opening 3-4 pm on Sat. 10/16

30 Sep

It’s Banned Book Week: 9/25- 10/2

27 Sep

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2010 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from Sept. 25 through Oct. 2.

Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities. Click here to see a map of book bans and challenges in the US from 2007 to 2009. People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups–or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature.

According to the American Library Association, out of 460 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2009, the 10 most challenged titles were:

ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, offensive language, drugs,
and unsuited to age group

And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually
explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: racism, offensive language, unsuited to age group

Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: sexism, homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, drugs, suicide, violence

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn  Mackler
Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

I would be dead without libraries

24 Sep

Award-winning young adult author Gary Paulsen gives a candid account of his life story.

A librarian saved Gary Paulsen’s life.

More than 100 people listened with amazement Sunday as the self-proclaimed street kid who became an award-winning author shared his life story at the Carnegie-Stout Public Library.

“I would be dead without libraries,” said Paulsen, 71.

Dressed in a black turtleneck sweater and blue jeans, the author of three Newbery Honor Books — “Hatchet,” “Dogsong” and “The Winter Room” — held nothing back.

Paulsen described how he sold newspapers as a teenager at bars. One cold night, he walked into a library to keep warm until the drunks got so sloshed that he could easily swipe extra change.

Once inside, something amazing happened. A librarian asked Paulsen if he would like a library card.

“Nobody gave me anything,” Paulsen said.

He was shocked when the librarian gave him his very own card with his name correctly spelled. She encouraged Paulsen to read more and more books over the next few years.

Although he failed in almost everything at school, Paulsen continued to read.

“Everything that I am or ever will be in writing is because of (that librarian),” he said.

The famous author of more than 175 books was one of many authors who helped Carnegie-Stout celebrate the completion of its $6.5 million renovation project.

“I love the book ‘Hatchet,’ and thought it’d be a really cool experience to see him,” said Kate Hanley, 13, of Dubuque.

Although Paulsen’s core audience is young adults, he has written a few adult books.

“It’s artistically fruitless to write for adults,” Paulsen said. He added that he prefers to write for young adults who “are still open to new ideas.”

Throughout the years, Paulsen has been able to keep in touch with an ever-changing young adult population by being as honest as he possibly can in his books.

Paulsen said he still is amazed that his books are taught in classrooms throughout the country.

“There’s a great irony considering that I flunked everything,” Paulsen said. “I never thought of myself as teachable … I was just trying to get through alive.”  (via

Review of Anthem by Ayn Rand

16 Sep

Anthem by Ayn Rand is a disturbing look at a terrifying future where no man is allowed to think with his own mind. It is as if every City Hall told every single person what their job should be, at what time they should wake up in the morning, what to eat, when to go outside, and many other commands. But it is not the only book like this. This story is strikingly similar to The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and The Giver by Lois Lowry. In all of these books there is an unknown place that is forbidden, like the Uncharted Forest in Anthem, the Unknown Regions in The City of Ember, and where Jonas leaves to at the end in The Giver. Whenever a city tries to make a utopia, it always turns out to be a dystopia. Nothing is perfect when there is an attempt to make something just right.

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