Aurora Public Library Blog

Welcome to Aurora Public Library’s blog. A place where our library staff share their thoughts, insider knowledge and overall love of all things book and community.

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Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: All Your Faves Are Banned 
by Elizabeth 

In libraries, there’s a saying: there should always be at least one book in your library you dislike, or else you’re not doing it right. Unfortunately, not everyone agrees. Welcome to Banned Books Week! Here, we’ll celebrate all of the wonderful books that have been banned from libraries throughout the decades. 

“Well, of course,” you may be thinking. “Some books are just SCANDALOUS.” But what about “Green Eggs and Ham”? This picture book about a picky eater was challenged in California for being too seductive. That’s right: Dr. Seuss, too sexy. “Where’s Waldo?” and “Alice in Wonderland” were banned for the same reason. “Where the Wild Things Are”, the story of a little boy going on imaginary wild romps with monsters after being sent to his room, has been challenged for witchcraft. Shel Silverstein’s poem “Help! I’m Being Eaten by a Boa Constrictor” was apparently a little too tempting: his books were banned for promoting cannibalism. And some books offend every side: George Orwell’s “1984” was banned for being BOTH pro-communist and anti-communist. Even the dictionary’s been banned! 

The American Library Association updates their list of the most challenged and banned books every year. Want to really live life on the edge? Check out a banned book or two to see what all the fuss is about! Here’s five of my favorite books from the banned books list to get you started, plus one more delightful read you’d never think was banned. 

Hate U Give

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas 

Did you know that this book has been on the NY Times Bestseller List for 186 weeks and counting? That’s 3 and a half YEARS. This book is still sadly topical: a high school girl sees a police officer kill her friend and then watches as his death turns into a national news story. Teenage Starr has to learn to balance between worlds and find her own voice while friends, family, and the media all start to take sides. Banned for profanity, drug use, and being “anti-cop.” 

Drama

“Drama” by Raina Telgemeier 

“Drama” has been on the most challenged book list for 4 years in a row. This heartwarming graphic novel tells the story of Callie, a theater-loving middle school student who wants to create the perfect set for her school’s play. Meanwhile, she has to deal with ticket sales, difficult crew members, and an inconvenient crush. Raina Telgemeier is also the author of the graphic novel reboot of “The Babysitter’s Club”. Banned for LGBT content and going against family values. 

Saga

“Saga” by Brian K. Vaughan 

This one’s more explicit, but adult readers might love it. In a distant future, two groups of aliens have been fighting for decades. When two soldiers from opposite sides fall in love, their baby becomes part of an interplanetary cover-up: no one can know that peace is possible. Definitely only read this if you’re over 18, but it’s a fantastic series, and its main focus is on one family determined to survive whatever the odds. Banned for nudity, swearing, sexual content, and being “anti-family.” 

Bridge to Terabithia

“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson 

Find your tissue box. Do you have it? Okay, then you’re ready to read the kids’ classic “Bridge to Terabithia”, a heartwarming book about imagination, friendship, and overwhelming grief. Jess and Leslie may have to endure the trials of middle school, but they have an escape: Terabithia, their imaginary magical land where they rule as king and queen. This is one of those “why did they ban this” books: “Terabithia” was challenged for Satanism, an odd sentiment for a book that talks about God and angels as much as fairies and magic. 

Prince and Knight

“Prince & Knight” by Daniel Haack 

“Prince & Knight” tells the story of a prince who falls for a handsome knight instead of a beautiful princess. Its sequel, “Maiden & Princess”, shows a Cinderella-like girl falling for an unexpected person at the royal ball. These are adorable stories with gorgeous illustrations. Banned for LGBT content. 


And one more, a book you’d never think was banned: 

Winnie the Pooh

“Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne 

Christopher Robin’s stuffed animals and their adventures have been banned multiple times over the years for some surprising reasons: being religiously offensive (three times, two different religions), dubious political affiliations, dubious sexuality, and – perhaps the only fair accusation for our bumbling bear – not wearing pants.  

And remember, as always: if you don’t like any of my recommendations, you don’t have to read them!
Here’s a link to the ALA list so you can find a banned book that’s a little more your style.

Happy reading!  
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Sep 30, 2020 at 11:46 AM
  
Read It!

Family Book Club


Winterhouse

"Winterhouse" by Ben Guterson will be reviewed TONIGHT via Zoom LIVE with the author at 5 p.m.! Join us for a special one-hour Book Talk. If you haven't finished reading the book, that's okay! Mr. Guterson will be accepting questions and also will talk about puzzles, codes and more! It is not too late to register! Register here.


October Family Book Club
"Song For a Whale" by Lynne Kelly is our Family Book Club pick for October and we will have another LIVE Book Talk with the author! Register here and get your hands on a copy (available in hardback and as an audiobook). Call the Tallyn's Reach Library at 303.627.3050 to put a copy on hold today!
 
Song For a Whale Suggested Reading Schedule
Monday, Sept. 28 - Sunday, Oct. 4: Chapters 1-12
Monday, Oct. 5 - Sunday, Oct. 11: Chapters 13-25
Monday, Oct. 12 - Sunday, Oct. 18: Chapters 26-38
Monday, Oct. 19 - Sunday, Oct. 25: Chapters 39-48
Monday, Oct. 26 - Book Talk With Award-Winning Author Lynne Kelly!

Song for a Whale
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Sep 28, 2020 at 12:01 PM
  
Create It!

Create It! Clothespin Circles
by Karen

It's #MakeItMonday! Karen shares a fun, versatile DIY using clothespins! Follow along to make your own trivet, coaster or wall art! 

Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Sep 28, 2020 at 11:41 AM
  
Banned Books Week

Each fall, the American Library Association and numerous partnering organizations celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week. This year’s celebration runs Sept. 27 to Oct. 3 with the theme “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”. Banned Books Week aims to celebrate each individual’s freedom to read as well to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. The week also draws attention to efforts aimed at restricting or removing access to books based on a variety of reasons as well the harms of censorship. 

Each year the Office of Intellectual Freedom within ALA compiles a list of the year’s most frequently challenged, relocated and banned books based on media reports and reports from librarians and teachers. In 2019, 377 challenges were tracked on 566 books.  



Below is a list of the most challenged and banned books of the past decade, from 2010 to 2019. For more information about Banned Books Week, click here. For more information about challenges to books and reasons for the below challenges, visit the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  

Most Frequently Challenged Books: 2010 - 2019

 
Picture Books 
Picture Books

- “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss 
- “Prince & Knight” by Daniel Haack 
- “I Am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings 
- “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell 
- “Skippyjon Jones” by Judy Schachner 
- “This Day in June” by Gayle E Pitman 
- “Little Bill” by Bill Cosby 
- “Nasreen’s Secret School” by Jeannette Winter 
- “My Mom’s Having a Baby!” By Dori Butler 

Kids' Books 
Kids' Books
- “George” by Alex Gino 
-“Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg 
- “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier 
- “Harry Potter” by J. K. Rowling 
- “Captain Underpants” by Dav Pilkey 
- “It’s Perfectly Normal” by Robie Harris 
- “Bone” by Jeff Smith 
- “Scary Stories” by Alvin Schwartz 
- “Alice” by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
 
Young Adult Books  
Young Adult Books

- “Beyond Magenta” by Susan Kuklin 
- “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki 
- “Thirteen Reasons” Why by Jay Asher 
- “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie 
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas 
- “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan 
- “Looking for Alaska” by John Green 
- “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell 
- “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins 
- “A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl” by Tanya Lee Stone 
- “Ttyl” Series by Lauren Myracle 
- “The Color of Earth” by Kim Dong Hwa 
- “Gossip Girl” by Ziegesar 
- “What My Mother Doesn’t Know” by Sonya Sones 
- “Crank” by Ellen Hopkins 
- “Lush” by Natasha Friend 
- “Revolutionary Voices” by Amy Sonnie 
- “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer 

Adult Books
Adult

- “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood 
- “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini 
- “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 
- “Big Hard Sex Criminals” by Matt Fraction 
- “Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread” by Palahniuk 
- “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E. L. James 
- “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon 
- The Bible 
- “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel 
- “Habibi” by Craig Thompson 
- “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi 
- “The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison 
- “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky 
- “A Stolen Life” by Jaycee Dugard 
- “Bless Me Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya 
- “The Glass Castle” by Jeanette Walls 
- “Beloved” by Toni Morrison 
- “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley 
- “Nickel and Dimed” by Barbara Ehrenreich  

Sources: American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom, Banned Books Week 
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Sep 26, 2020 at 1:29 PM
  
Read It!

Review of "Nothing to See Here" by Kevin Wilson
by Nicole S.

Hello again! As promised I will be giving my review from our latest book club pick which was "Nothing To See Here" by Kevin Wilson. One of my awesome friends from Wisconsin suggested this book! 

Nothing to See Here

As you can see from the cover, it looks to be an interesting book. It was published this past year in October and became a New York Times Bestseller and A Read with Jenna Today Show Book Club Pick. This story revolves around two women, Lillian and Madison who in their teenage years became inseparable friends despite their vastly different backgrounds. Lillian, in the midst of a scandal, is forced to leave her school unexpectedly and the two friends drift apart. Then out of the blue Madison writes a letter to Lillian begging for her help. Madison’s stepkids are moving into her house and she has asked Lillian to be their caretaker. These stepkids, twins - a boy and a girl, are incredibly unique. Whenever they get agitated or deeply upset, they spontaneously combust, with flames that ignite from their skin. Yes, you read that right. They burst into flames! With Lillian’s life already a disappointment, she figures she has nothing to lose and agrees to care for these fiery children. The more she learns about these children, the more she realizes she needs them as much as they need her. What could go wrong? 

This book was available as both formats, book and audiobook, and being partial to listening to books, I opted for the audiobook version. My friends in my virtual book club opted for the print format and all of us genuinely enjoyed this book. It is categorized in fiction as magical realism, for the elements of fire that ignite from the children’s bodies that does no harm to them whatsoever. The premise is what peaked our interest - we wanted to find out why and how these children could burst into flame! But then as we continued in this story we all agreed that there were also elements of what being a family truly means, and that not all families are created, some can be chosen too. The main character, Lillian, is a down-to-earth and relatable character. She grew up with an awful home life and has been searching for something – anything - that will give her true happiness. Madison, on the other hand, has had her life handed to her on a silver platter, and doesn’t understand what hardship is truly like; until she meets her husband’s kids. We understood the love and respect Lillian has shown Madison throughout her life, but had a hard time viewing it reciprocated. We knew that Madison trusted Lillian to know her family’s “flaming” secret so to speak, but it was hard for us to gauge whether Madison truly valued what Lillian was willing to do for her.  

A couple of my friends in the book club have families of their own so it made this discussion interesting especially when we asked them how they would handle having children spontaneously combust. Obviously it would be hard and they would need the proper safety measures to ensure their house and everything will still be standing if one of their kids happened to have a meltdown. But they said it would also take a lot of patience to try to learn and understand how and why their kids would get agitated and the best ways to calm them down. This seemed to be very similar to Lillian’s approach with the kids. Madison’s was the opposite. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with them. But then again, these were only her stepkids.  

All in all this was a real page turner and you wanted to keep reading to find out what happens to these children, and if Lillian ever finds true happiness and meaning in her life. This book has characters you will grow to love and others you like to complain about. If you read this book and enjoyed it, you will enjoy other books that Kevin Wilson has read such as, “The Family Fang” and “Perfect Little World”. 
 
For books similar to “Nothing to See Here,” check out “Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano, “Ask Again, Yes” by Mary Beth Keane, and “The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett. 

Check back for my next review for our book club pick, “The Kitchen House” by Kathleen Grissom.  
Posted by svanholb@auroragov.org  On Sep 25, 2020 at 1:52 PM
  
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