Sunday, September 27, 2009

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week began on Saturday, September 26th. Since 1987, the American Library Association and other Free Speech advocates have celebrated freedom of expression by pointing out notable books that have been "challenged" or banned.

The city of Boston earned notoriety in the early 20th century for banning books - not allowing the books into the city's limits. The idea seems almost medieval but every month someone complains about a book that has been published, or is on a public library's shelves or has been assigned to a class for study.

The reasons for banning a book are myriad. Shel Silverstein's "A Light in the Attic" was banned because it included an illustration that might encourage children to break dishes so they wouldn't have to wash them!

Librarians are rumored to have painted diapers on a naked Mickey in Maurice Sendak's "In the Night Kitchen".

The Harry Potter series was challenged because it talked about magic, spells, wizards, witches, etc. I haven't read that the "Twilight" series has been challenged anywhere, even though it features vampires and werewolves. Oh, wait, Australian middle schools have banned the Twilight books. Hmmm.

The reason for keeping these books on the shelves reflects a basic American value, freedom of expression. Removing a book because one person, or interest group, finds that book objectionable denies the rights of all the people who think the book is well-written, fun or informative.

Check out more resources on Banned Books by looking at the massive amount of info posted on the American Library Association's website.

For a list of the ten most often challenged books or series of 2008, click here.

Read a banned book, today or choose not to. That choice belongs to everyone. Let's keep it that way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall Event Sign-ups Begin on Friday

A problem with the venue has forced the Parkland Community Library to change the Wednesday Preschool Storytime to 1 pm, NOT 10:30 am as noted in the newsletter.

Sign-ups for Fall Events - Storytimes, Fall Fest, Wool Felting Workshop and Storytelling Workshop - will begin on Friday, September 25th. To register for these events, call the Parkland Community Library at 610-398-1361 OR come into the library at 4422 Walbert Avenue in South Whitehall.

Here are two new Picture Books with a ghoulish Fall theme; "Do NOT Build a Frankenstein" by Neil Numberman features the new kid in town, who explains all the drawbacks of building a monster. Then, the monster appears. The pictures are great fun.

"Runaway Mummy" by Michael Rex is a spoof of Margaret Wise Brown's classic tale, "The Runaway Bunny". Monster fans will love the ending.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ready for school

Are you ready to start school? Do you wonder what to expect this year? This post will lead you to some online resources for parents and students.

Family Education is a commercially supported site with lots of information, polls, worksheets and printables. Articles that explain what children will learn at each grade level can be helpful and reassuring. Different states have different requirements but these articles give a good feel for what to expect.

The United States Government has a site for parents about getting ready for school This is a typical government site, short on eye appeal but pretty hefty on substance.

Reading Is Fundamental wants all children to be competent and enthusiastic readers. Their site has games and other fun ways to keep reading interesting. The grade appropriate booklists are a big plus on this site.

Schoolfamily is a PTO affiliated site with games, quizzes, worksheets and advice for parents and children.

So, don't panic. You will be ready when the first school day comes around.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

School Days

Next week, kindergarteners and high school seniors and everyone in between will trudge off to school. Some of the area's students are trudging even as I type this.

Jamie Gilson hit the school jackpot when she wrote Thirteen Ways to Sink a Sub, her very first Hobie Hanson adventure. This was soon followed by4B Goes Wild Hobie is a likeable, ordinary character who gets into a comfortably funny amount of trouble. These and other books by Jamie Gilson are for readers in grades 4 and up. Good third grade readers will like them, too.

More recently, Andrew Clements has cashed in on the school days phenomenon. He even titled one of his books, The School Story. Frindle, the book that earned Clements acclaim and a Newbery Award, pits a too-smart-for-his-britches student against a stubborn, experienced teacher. They both learn a lot from each other in very satisfying ways. Clements books are for readers in grades 4 and up. He writes books for teens as well.

The brand new students, either to preschool or to kindergarten, will get a kick out of Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School by Herman Parish. Amelia is a first grader and she takes everything that her teacher and classmates say literally. The book is a lot of fun.

My favorite chicken, Janet Morgan Stoeke's Minerva Louise, wanders into a school. How she sees everyday objects will make children smile. As always, Minerva Louise takes ideas home to the henhouse in Minerva Louise at School.

Simon the rabbit does NOT want to go to school. Really. He dosen't want to go. But when his mother picks him up on the first day of school, Simon has changed his tune. I Don't Want to Go to School by Stephanie Blake introduces Simon to young readers.

Ben's older sister, Hannah, has a lot to tell Ben about Ben's teacher in I Don't Want to Go Back to School by Marisabina Russo. Hannah's stories make Ben pretty worried. It all works out, in the end, which brings us to the moral - Don't listen to everything your big sister says!

Enjoy the last weekend before school and read on!