Banned Book Reviews

On T.H. Mafi's blog Grab a Pen, she encouraged her followers to review favorite titles from the banned books list.  And that's just what we are doing today.  If you have a favorite on the list, share it on your site and let others know about it.  Post a comment or link to it on her site (click link) and here on ours so we can enjoy your good read right along with you. Also, read our post from Monday on Banned Book Week (click here) to read more about our views on this very important topic.

Christy's Choice
One of my favorite authors is the courageous Katherine Paterson.  Both Bridge to Terabithia and The Great Gilly Hopkins are on the list.  I reread The Great Gilly Hopkins this past week so I could share it with you today. 

Gilly is an eleven year old girl who, after being moved from foster home to foster home, has built up an attitude and hard exterior to get her through a tough childhood.  She claims to be proud of being known as "Gruesome Gilly" even if she's reminding someone of her true name, Galadriel, in her next breath.  She tries to gain control by acting out and shocking those in charge of her.  Once she meets Trotter, her newest foster mother,one she considers the strangest yet, she doesn't plan to do it any differently.  In addition, she devises a plan to get her "gorgeous" mother, who writes her occasionally, to come and get her. Without ruining the ending for you, Gilly goes through a transformation throughout the course of the book and, though slightly "unlikable" in the beginning, you'll find you're rooting for her along the way.

Part of Gilly's tough girl act includes swearing and taking the Lord's name in vain, one of the reasons the book was banned in school libraries in Albermalre County, Virginia.  In fact, it was was ranked #20 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books for 1990-2000.  Katherine Paterson addressed the school board in Albermalre County in a letter saying, "Though Gilly's mouth is a very mild one compared to that of many lost children, if she had said `fiddlesticks' when frustrated, readers could not have believed in her and love would give them no hope."

I find Katherine Paterson not only courageous, but to be a phenomenal source of inspiration to me as a writer.  She obviously knew her characters well, but perhaps more importantly, her audience. She may have had a reader, a child, in mind for whom she wrote just in case the great Gilly could give them some hope.  I hope that child's hands found Gilly's story on the library's bookshelves when he or she needed it.

Quote found in an article entitled WHAT JOHNNY CAN'T READ Censorship in American Libraries by Suzanne Fisher Staples. 

Resource information along with an inspirational review also found on a blog entitled Small World Reads.  Worth checking out. 

Erica's Choice
I had very grand aspirations to read two banned books this week - one from the library and one that I purchased. But, um, well - my children and husband revolted when I explained my weekly schedule. So, I plan on soon doing a review of Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Today I'll talk about The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.
This is a banned book? What a shame. Because here's my review: Every. Sentence. Made. Me Laugh/Cry. Every. Sentence. (trust me, I don't say that often)

There was this one paragraph that has been contested. It has to do with the main character's infatuation wth math. Here it is (page 26 of the library hardcover edition):
"I'm proud of it.
I'm good at it.
I'm ambidextrous.
If there were a Professional Mathination League, I'd get drafted number one..."

I'm now looking forward to tomorrow, when my husband finds this hand-written note on the back of a bookmark: "Change masterbation to mathination"

So, this book wasn't owned by my library. I had to get it through interlibrary loan. I bought it and, when received, will donate it to my library. I urge you to do the same with any book you completely love (banned or not).


  1. I love T.H. Mafi! She is so fun isn't she? I also did a post on banned books. Gotta love me....well in this case obviously some people hate 'em, but let's see what we can do about that--one book at a time!

  2. You ladies rock. I'm linking to this on my critique group's blog, Scribe Sisters!

  3. Brilliant reviews! I love books that can make me laugh AND cry so readily. They're gems.



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