Banned Books Week

Perhaps you read my post about the A, B, C… children’s book exhibit at the NYC Public Library. In it I posted this pic of the tower of banned books.

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This is the week that we celebrate all those brave authors, illustrators, and industry professionals who brought these books into the world and the teachers, librarians, parents and others who championed them. By standing behind these books, these gatekeepers also recognized that their role is not to keep gates closed to children but to swing them wide and trust that children will make a choice that is right for them.

This week I’ll be posting links to Banned Books Week articles. Today:

This 2009 School Library Journal Article, A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship
By School Library Journal Archive Content on February 1, 2009 


This School Library Journal Article from just a few days ago: NCAC: School Visits Nixed for Medina, Rowell, By Debra Lau Whelan


Meg Medina’s book, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, is on my too-tall and ever-wobbly To Be Read list.

I just finished Rowell’s, Eleanor & Park which led me to post this on Twitter.

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I’m a parent, and I’ve seen my kiddos make some bad choices in life (throwing sticks at one’s brother who has climbed a tree and can’t get down) but they choose well in books. I’ve also seen them start a book and then hand it back to me saying, “I don’t get this.” or “This isn’t for me.” or “Maybe in a few years.” or “This is scary.” or “Ick. They kiss in this one.” My policy at home? fREADom.

Book Review Wednesday: The Girl Who Could Silence The Wind

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Sonia Ocampo’s birth coincided with a terrible storm, but as soon as she was born, the winds went away leaving her family and the village to believe that she had a direct line to God. Her miraculous ability to silence the wind is both her blessing and her curse. In “The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind,” as in her middle grade novel, “Milagros” (Candlewick, 2008), Meg Medina, who has written for adults and children for 15 years, explores the power and pitfalls of the miracle.

At sixteen, Sonia has taken on the maladies, prayers, and dreams of the entire village. She is weighed down by milagros (tiny hand-forged prayer charms) which she wears on a shawl. While many people in Sonia’s fictional mining village make the journey North to pursue economic opportunity, Sonia is the anchor of faith for the village and is unable to explore her own dreams.

Sonia’s village might be in Mexico or Central America but the reader is often unsure. With lyrical writing, Medina creates a fictional world which skirts the edges of reality and magic. The reader is covered in the dust of the mountains, he can hear the promising whistle of the train that runs to the capital, and feel the weight of the milagros on Sonia’s shawl.

The range of female characters in the book is especially compelling. Sonia’s Tia Neli is strong and street smart. Sonia’s mother, while quiet, has a silent strength about her. Conchita Fo, the bar mistress is a wonderful mix of beauty and beast.

Sonia is the strongest of all. Throughout the book she struggles with her faith, with the lack of opportunities in her village, with love and with loyalty. Sonia journeys from her small mountain village to the capital city but ends up using knowledge from her village life and family to finally her solve her problems.  Intelligent, ethical, and empathetic, Sonia, who was born with the burden of a miracle, takes back her life and destiny.

Like Dorothy in the Wizard of OZ, Sonia survives a storm, meets characters who challenge her values, journeys far away and back again only to learn there’s no place like home.