Book Spotlight: Ban this Book

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Posted: January 20, 2018

Category: Staff Picks

A locker covered in caution tape labelled Amy Anne loves From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and she’s read it more than a dozen times.  But when she visits her school library to borrow it again, the book is gone and the librarian tells Amy Anne that it, along with a dozen other books, was banned by the school board after a parent complained.

Amy Anne convinces her father to take her to the next school board meeting, but she is too scared to speak up when given a chance.  When he sees her disappointment on the drive home, Amy Anne’s father purchases her a copy of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler so she can read it any time she wants.

When Amy Anne takes the book to school, her best friend Rebecca asks to borrow it.  Then Danny Purcell joins the conversation and comments that his family owns Wait Until Helen Comes, another book on the banned list.  When Amy Anne asks to borrow it, Danny is confused about why she’d bother until Rebecca points out that the book must be good or the school board wouldn’t have banned it.

The conversation gives Amy Anne an idea:  her school library may not be allowed to loan out the banned books, but there’s no reason she can’t.  So Amy Anne buys two of the books on the list and starts running a banned book library from her locker.  Classmates who own other books on the list donate them to the cause, and Amy Anne’s library grows and grows.

Things quickly become complicated though.  Amy Anne doesn’t have a good way to keep track of when books are borrowed and when they should be returned, and there’s nearly a disaster in the cafeteria when one of the banned books is dropped in front of the principal.

Can Amy Anne and her friends figure out a way around these issues?  Can her library succeed even as the banned book list grows larger and larger?  What will happen if Amy Anne is caught?

Ban this Book by Alan Gratz is shelved upstairs in the juvenile fiction section of the Children’s Department.

If you enjoyed Ban this Book, you may also enjoy The Homework Strike by Greg Pincus.  When Gregory realizes he’s being assigned the equivalent of three hours of homework every single night, he decides a homework strike is necessary.  At first the strike starts small, but it eventually gains the attention of all his classmates and teachers as well as various reporters.  The Homework Strike is also shelved in the juvenile fiction section of the Children’s Department.

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