Many Voices, Many Books: Read During Banned Book Week

So, for those of you that read my last post, or know about this in some other way, we are about halfway through Banned Book Week! I hope some of you are participating so we can celebrate our literary independence. No, I won’t tell you what I’m reading, but I hope to finish it and review it by the end of the week. So what is this post about, you ask? Well, this is just for me to ramble on about this event and censorship and books and “boring” stuff like that. This is to hopefully get some people thinking about banning books and whether it’s right or wrong. Sorry, in advance, if I turn your world upside down. Anyway…

Books all over the U. S. A. have been banned or challenged. Some are Paint Me Like I Am, Whale Talk, and even the legendary Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. Some for potentially offensive language, some for inappropriate material, one book simply for what a parent deemed an inappropriate title. Do we think this is right? Do we think books should be banned from entire school systems because they broach “dangerous” issues? Hmm.

Banning a book is when school officials or parents decide they don’t want a certain work to reside in their school library, and have it removed for good. Banning a book is very different from your mom telling you a certain read is too old for you, and asking you to wait a little. Banning a book is like silencing an author’s voice and not wanting it to ever be read. Many of these victim books have been challenged because parents want to protect their children from rather grown up material. When my parents tell me they’d like me to wait a little while before reading something, I’ll respect that. But sometimes a book is a way for a person to speak, and get to tell the stories they think are important enough to be told. Something I always hear about our country is that people have the right to free speech in it. Does a book count as free speech? Does banning one add up to not allowing someone to speak out? These are questions I’ve been asking myself. Maybe you should ask yourself that, too.

Eventually, all kids are going to go out into the world and be confronted with the type of material in some of these books, so how long can you really protect them? It’s true, of course, that some parents may think that their child is not ready, just yet. That’s just fine. Even I, as a twelve year old, will admit that we kids don’t always know what’s best for us. Sorry, guys, but you have to say, sometimes the adults are right. Still, I won’t ever think that getting rid of books completely from a school, or a library, or anywhere, is okay. People have the right to be offended, get angry, or want to shelter their children because of a book. But I, for one, don’t believe that doing something as extreme as banning the book is right. So let’s celebrate Banned Book Week!

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Alanna: The First Adventure

So, several days ago it hit me that I have never reviewed a Tamora Pierce book. NEVER. I mean, how did I miss that? Today, I am going to fill that gap. When I was I-don’t-know-how-many years old, I picked a book off the shelves at Mom and Dad’s bookstore (see About). It was titled Protector of the Small: Lady Knight, so I started to read it. Guess what? I absorbed practically nothing! Over 300 pages? At whatever age I was, I remember it seemed huge. So, I tried it, but I just couldn’t finish the thing. That was my first taste of Tamora Pierce. My second was this book, Alanna: The First Adventure, the first in a quartet I read years later. It’s not as big as Lady Knight, but just as good. Alanna of Trebond would do just about anything to be knight, but in the realm of Tortall females are forbidden to pursue this. Her brother would rather go learn to be a mage than a knight. Hmm…crazy scheme? Alanna cuts her hair, obtains male clothing, and before you know it she is at the Palace, posing as Alan of Trebond, on her way to becoming a knight. But that’s easier said than done. Alanna must deal with rivals, harsh training, and (yikes) adolescence! This book is action-packed, and the writing keeps you sucked in, if you ask me. The next three books of the series do not fail to please, but I have to say that these are definitely young adult. They are something a lover of fantasy would definitely enjoy. Why don’t you give this a try? Please? Pretty please?

P. S. Saturday, September 24, 2011, is the start of Banned Book Week. This celebrates the freedom to read books that broach “dangerous” subjects. Click here for a great site to learn more about it.

The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery

Watch out, Sherlock! Little sisters are on the rampage! Enola Holmes, much younger sister of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, has just turned fourteen, but it’s not your normal type of birthday. Well, unless you call your mother disappearing without a trace normal. Enola isn’t sure what to do. She and her mother weren’t exactly inseparable, but she’s determined to get to the bottom of this. But of course she should send a wire to her two brothers, Mycroft and Sherlock, right? She was hoping for a bit of affection when they met again, a hug, at least a “Now, how are you?” Well, what does she get? “Enola?” Not what she wanted. And there’s one other thing she doesn’t remember asking for. Boarding school? With corsets?! Well, this simply won’t do. So in the night, when everyone else is sleeping, unaware, Enola is working. With a bit of help from her mother, Enola is able to gather all she needs to embark on the biggest adventure of her life: Running away. Forget about boarding school, forget about older brothers, Enola Holmes is on her way out. But she discovers something along the way that she can’t force out of her mind–the Marquess of Basilwether has disappeared. However, that’s nothing to her. She’s a fourteen year old girl trying to make her way in London, and she wants to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem possible. Before she knows it, Enola is caught in a swirl of danger and conspiracy. This book will drag you in, using the unique voice of Nancy Springer. The plot and characters are great, and I have to say, I’ve read this three times and I’m not sick of it. And if you like it has much as I do, try the sequel, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady.