In this incredibly popular book (the author published Eleanor & Park earlier this year), Cath struggles to survive on her own in her first year of college while avoiding a surly roommate, bonding with a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words, and worrying about her fragile father after her parents’ divorce. Cath’s life centers around Simon Snow, a fictional character a bit like Harry Potter and every bit as popular; while Cath continues to write fanfic and dress up for movie premieres, her twin sister Wren has outgrown him. The question is, what will it take for Cath to grow up?
Breaking News: Are you interested in reading Rainbow Rowell’s book Eleanor & Park? If so, be glad you don’t go to school at the Anoka-Hennepin School District. Rowell was supposed to visit schools there to talk about her book this week, but instead her visit has been canceled and her book may be pulled out of the Anoka-Hennepin school libraries.
Why? Because of a challenge by the Parents Action League who consider the work pornographic and full of profanity. Want to know more? Visit Omaha.com to read their coverage of the issue.
Touching Spirit Bear, by Ben Mikaelsen, was written over a decade ago, but I still find myself thinking about it from time to time. The story follows troubled teen Cole, who comes from an abusive household and takes that violence into his daily life, including a break-in at the school. After another student, Peter, hears Cole bragging about the break-in and all the damage Cole caused, he tells the principal. Cole is furious that Peter snitched, and before the administrators can come talk to him, he beats Peter so badly that Peter has brain damage. Cole faces another visit to the courts, with the added prospect of real jail time.
Janet Lee Carey has been writing fantasy fiction for children and teens for quite a while, but she is also a big library supporter. This year she asked one of us at Push To Talk to write a post about Banned Books Week, and here it is.
This teen patron used Your Next 5 Books and went straight to the point:
Our teen librarian Shannon responded with this list:
Thanks for asking me to reccomend Your Next 5 Books that are romantic manga.
“Skip-Beat” is about competing pop singers, and it’s full of romantic drama.
“Boys over Flowers” is a series about a poor girl who goes to a fancy private school, where all the popular boys seem to be interested in her.
“Ouran High School Host Club” is a super funny romance about a girl that gets mistaken for a boy.
“D.N. Angel” is about a boy who transforms into a being with wings when he thinks about the person he loves.
“Honey and Clover” is a sweet romantic series about teens in art college.
If you’re still looking for romantic manga, there are a few more on this list recommended by other librarians. The romantic ones have Shojo at the end of their descriptions.
If you want to give me feedback about this list or ask for more recommendations, please write back or use Your Next 5 Books again.
Libraries are an essential part of our culture because they grant everyone access to books and media that are expensive or unavailable otherwise. Libraries form a community and encourage others to read. They are a vital support for those who wish to learn and a resource for all ages. Books can be anything you’re looking for, or something completely unexpected. They can be friends, teachers, a hiding place, or a way to express who you are. Books open a gate to other cultures, build a path to other worlds, take you back to your roots, and then lead you home, a slightly different person. I believe that books are a necessary way to explore the limits of imagination.
When a book is banned, it doesn’t protect people from bad ideas, it locks the door to a separate story. People shouldn’t be able to define “good” and “evil” for everyone else*. It’s your own job to establish your morals and values, and everyone has to do this themselves. Forcing your own on someone else is like taking away their opportunity to be their own person. People should be free to warn others and discourage them from reading certain books, because that’s free speech, and some may heed that. But they should be free to form their own opinions, whether they agree or not.
*This leads on to ethics, agreed-on morals, and global consensus. I will leave my rant about this untyped and simply thought.
–Opinion post by Lexie, 15, West Seattle teen volunteer