A good review can influence my decision to read a book even when life has filled my plate. Last month I read the reviews of Between Shades of Gray by new author Ruta Sepetys. The story is one of fifteen year old Lina, a Lithuanian girl caught up in Stalin’s desire to eradicate Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. From its beautiful cover art to telling story about a part of history I could not remember, this book is a must read for students and adults today.
Based on actual events in history, I am a better person for having reminded myself of past wars and the power of survival.
Can you name some classic books that have been challenged?
For several years I have been involved in creating banned book displays both at the public library and at the school library and every year I am re-energized to bring some of these “dangerous” books to light. Books such as The Color Purple, The Catcher in the Rye or The Great Gatsby were wonderful parts of my growing up with literature. Even my friend Harry Potter is a foe to many with his wizarding ways. This year I ask you to think about your favorite books and what they have meant to you. The gift of literature is a wonderful one!
Here is a link to the American Library Association list of banned or challenged classics.
Marjane Satrapi’s story of her childhood in Iran plays out beautifully in this black and white graphic novel. While this book is most likely best suited for a high school reader, adults who question the validity of the comic form would be well served to “read” this book. Media literacy of today includes not only the written word, but images on tv, film and the internet. My knowledge of Iran circa 1980 was slim and I am a better person for experiencing this tale.
I am well aware that there are many wonderful and compelling books that one can read, but stay with me on this one. Monster by Walter Dean Myers is truly a masterpiece that has stayed with me for months now. I have to re-read it for a class and am looking forward to learning more about our narrator, Steve Harmon, and his story. Written as a screenplay and starring the narrator, Steve Harmon, the reader is taken through a boy’s time in jail and the court system in NYC. What moved me was the way in which Walter Dean Myers challenges your assumptions of guilt and innocence and leads you to a place without providing you all of the answers.
If you are tired of vampires and need a fun summer read, then try Nine Lives of Chloe King by Liz Braswell. The story of 16 year old Chloe King is told over a trilogy of books starting with The Fallen and followed up by The Stolen and The Chosen. If you just love to debate the merits of books and adaptations, then check out ABC Family’s television show by the same name.