Saturday, August 28, 2010

Censorship in 2010!!

This is a post that I put on Facebook but feel so passionately about that I must put it on my blog too!

So recently I read that author Ellen Hopkins has been uninvited from the Humble Texas Teen Lit Fest. I also read that the "uninvite" had originated by a LIBRARIAN!!!  It's such a sad thing that such censorship still exists today. I grew up being surrounded by books...(thanks to my wonderful Mother)....being as how my mother was brought up in a very traditional and strict environment, she could have very well kept my sisters and brother and me from reading a lot of things. However, we had such a rich environment with literature everywhere and always had something good to read at our disposal. We also had many trips to the library....I sigh as I type this because of the comfy memories I have of my lifelong love affair with books. This love affair continues with me today, hence my job and passions in life.
Miss Hopkins has written such riveting titles as Burned, Crank, Impulse and many more. She brings to the forefront real topics that teens face today. These titles show the journey of teens from different angles and the agony and dispair that sometimes accompany situations in life. Bravo to Miss Hopkins!!!! Bravo to educating our children from their own point of view!!!!!
As a result of these amazing stories a Humble Texas librarian feels its her duty to just make a mention that Miss Hopkins shouldn't be exposing our children to such "horrors" to Superintendent Guy Sconzo and voila! (without ever reading her titles) Mister Superintendent has (lets just say it) BANNED her from coming to the Teen Lit Fest! Ummm what is a teen lit fest of you cannot celebrate the freedom of reading correctly!!!!???? In support of Miss Hopkins four other authors have pulled themselves out of the teen lit fest in Humble....BRAVO to you: Melissa De La Cruz, Pete Hautman, Matt de la Pena and Tara Lynn Childs for making a stand against censorship!!!!!
I'm so disgusted with this I almost don't even know what to say!? I do know this.....I wonder how many of these "advocates" ever sit and talk to their teens about the subjects they ban them from many of these "advocates" speak to their teens as if they are people instead of their little trophies....that's right I said it TROPHIES!!!!
Ellen Hopkins has written a manifesto that now is the manifesto for Banned Books Week.....I hope she doesn't mind but I also adopt this as my personal manifesto when referring to those rightwingers who assume to know what is best for everyone and what is right! Screw you Humble Texas and screw you people who have the audacity to think for our teens and not let them think and learn for themselves!!!!! For those of you who haven't seen it yet here is Miss Hopkins' Manifesto:

To you zealots and bigots and false patriots
who live in fear of discourse.You screamers and banners and burners
who would force books off shelves in your brand name of greater good.
You say you’re afraid for children,innocents ripe for corruption
by perversion or sorcery on the page.
   But sticks and stones do break bones, and ignorance is no armor.
You do not speak for me,and will not deny my kids magic
in favor of miracles.
You say you’re afraid for America,the red, white and blue corroded
by terrorists, socialists, the sexually confused.
But we are a vast quilt of patchwork cultures and multi-gendered identities.
You cannot speak for those whose ancestors braved
different seas.You say you’re afraid for God,the living word eroded by Muhammed
and Darwin and Magdalene. But the omnipotent sculptor of heavenand earth designed intelligence.
Surely you dare not speak for the father, who opens
his arms to all.
A word to the unwise.Torch every book. Char every page.
Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.
Manifesto— Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank and newly published Tricks

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"What if fairy tale magic really existed?"

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
(synopsis from
 Elizabeth has a new job at an unusual library— a lending library of objects, not books. In a secret room in the basement lies the Grimm Collection. That's where the librarians lock away powerful items straight out of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales: seven-league boots, a table that produces a feast at the blink of an eye, Snow White's stepmother's sinister mirror that talks in riddles.
When the magical objects start to disappear, Elizabeth embarks on a dangerous quest to catch the thief before she can be accused of the crime—or captured by the thief.
Polly Shulman has created a contemporary fantasy with a fascinating setting and premise, starring an ordinary girl whose after-school job is far from ordinary— and leads to a world of excitement, romance and magical intrigue.
My Review
 I love fairy tales. When I was a little girl, it was in fairy tales that I found my escapism in the pages. I loved visiting these created worlds and getting lost in them. As an adult my love of fairy tales has stayed with me. When I came across this title I was so so excited. 
Our adventure begins with the ordinary and of course presses the limits to reach the extraordinary! Miss Shulman captured the true essence of the classic fairy tales and brought them into our modern day world. I found it so charming that she took our world and created a wonderful magical little place that is existing alongside it!  I once again found myself being transported to the place where mirrors speak in riddles and where the impossible is an everyday accomplishment. I definitely will be reading this engaging little story again and again. I encourage those of you who have not read it to make it a family read. Read it out loud (in the spirit of great storytelling) and enjoy this whirlwind adventure with the whole family!

As a new feature on my blog I will give those titles that I highly recommend a bookworm seal of approval. This title is my first!                                                  

                                                               Bookworm Approved

Monday, August 9, 2010

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted - nevermore! — from "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

Guest Review from Krista

(synopsis from

Cheerleader Isobel Lanley is horrified when she is paired with Varen Nethers for an English project, which is due—so unfair—on the day of the rival game. Cold and aloof, sardonic and sharp-tongued, Varen makes it clear he’d rather not have anything to do with her either. But when Isobel discovers strange writing in his journal, she can’t help but give this enigmatic boy with the piercing eyes another look.
Soon, Isobel finds herself making excuses to be with Varen. Steadily pulled away from her friends and her possessive boyfriend, Isobel ventures deeper and deeper into the dream world Varen has created through the pages of his notebook, a realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life.
As her world begins to unravel around her, Isobel discovers that dreams, like words, hold more power than she ever imagined, and that the most frightening realities are those of the mind. Now she must find a way to reach Varen before he is consumed by the shadows of his own nightmares.
His life depends on it.
 Krista's Review
I was fortunate enough to have an ARC of this book to read. Nevermore really delivers a little something different. I liked the way the author handled the relationship between two total opposites coming together - cheerleader and goth. Bringing in elements from Edgar Allan Poe's poems, tales, and real life really added to this story. These elements prompted me to pull out my copies of Poe's works to explore more -- any book that can inspire further reading? Fantastic. The only downside to this novel was being left hanging at the end on a lot of things. I understand wanting to keep the reader guessing, but this one really leaves you on the edge of a cliff. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Revisiting the Annex

Annexed By Sharon Dogar
(Synopsis from

Everyone knows about Anne Frank and her life hidden in the secret annex – but what about the boy who was also trapped there with her?

In this powerful and gripping novel, Sharon Dogar explores what this might have been like from Peter’s point of view. What was it like to be forced into hiding with Anne Frank, first to hate her and then to find yourself falling in love with her? Especially with your parents and her parents all watching almost everything you do together. To know you’re being written about in Anne’s diary, day after day? What’s it like to start questioning your religion, wondering why simply being Jewish inspires such hatred and persecution? Or to just sit and wait and watch while others die, and wish you were fighting.

As Peter and Anne become closer and closer in their confined quarters, how can they make sense of what they see happening around them?

Anne’s diary ends on August 4, 1944, but Peter’s story takes us on, beyond their betrayal and into the Nazi death camps. He details with accuracy, clarity and compassion the reality of day to day survival in Auschwitz – and ultimately the horrific fates of the Annex’s occupants.

(my review)

When I was 13 my mother told me the story of Anne Frank and I was intrigued. I read the book and by the end of it I knew that a piece of who I was would always reside in the annex with Anne in her diary. Never in my imagination did I ever wonder about the story from Peter's point of view. I knew all along that these other people were there with her but she brought them to life in her diary entries. Even though "Annexed" is a work of fiction, Miss Dogar has once again drawn me into the annex. This time we live Peter's side of the story. I have to say that Miss Dogar has evoked the feeling of a male mirror image of Anne's diary. Peter takes us through his fears, his loss, his growing affections for Anne, and the cramped sheltered day to day life in the annex. I never expected the way this book ended though. I was Peter, feeling his dying thoughts, remember his slowly fading memories, walking his death march and living his horrific life in the death camp.  Through the eyes of a teenager, we are once again reminded of the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust. Though this book, of course, has a very very sad and tragic ending, Miss Dogar has definitely constructed a compelling piece of literature. This will definitely ALWAYS be at the top of my recommends list. 

This title is due for release in October 2010