October Tweens Talk Banned Books

Tweens Talk Banned Books
Grades 4-6
Thursday, October 27th at 4:30 p.m.
Virtual
Registration required. Register here.

Note: All of our youth-focused virtual programs require a registered Zoom account to attend. Sign up for a free Zoom account here: https://zoom.us/signup.

Book banning is sadly nothing new, and cases of censorship are growing more and more widespread throughout the US. Librarians oppose censorship and believe that open, honest conversation about challenged material is an alternative to book banning. Join Erica for Tweens Talk Banned Books, a year-long book club designed for middle school students to celebrate and discuss banned and challenged materials. This discussion is part of our yearlong celebration of challenged and banned books: #WPFreedomtoRead.

This month’s book is Drama by Raina Telgemeier. There will be a discussion and trivia game, and we will provide a free copy of the book to the first eight individuals to register for the Zoom discussion. When the books are available, we will email to arrange pickup; please list an email address when registering. You can place a hold on the print book with your library card here or, if you prefer the eBook, on Libby here.

Callie’s excited for the school play – she’s got big plans as the set design manager! But she hits some unexpected bumps along the way – not to mention the drama leaking off the stage and into her personal life. Can Callie find a way to salvage both her big prop ideas and her love life?

Targeted for censorship due to “LGBTQIA+ content”, Drama is a fantastic read and is the recipient of many awards and honors: a Stonewall Honor Book, a Harvey Award Nominee, a Publisher's Weekly and Washington Post Best Book of 2012, a New York Times and Booklist Editors' Choice, and a School Library Journal's Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2012.

If you liked Drama, here are some more books you might enjoy:

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School #1), by Svetlana Chmakova
For ages 10+
Library Catalog: Print

“Svetlana Chmakova has been a fan favorite creator since her days at Tokyopop…Though the style of Awkward is a slight departure from Chmakova’s traditional manga artwork, she maintains her manga influences to create a unique look that embraces a more cartoonish look of manga alongside more Americanized sensibilities, creating very fun and expressive characters. Her first middle school grade graphic novel from Yen Press is a funny and heart-felt look at middle school through the eyes of a realistic tween whom readers will love. Peppi is VERY awkward, and Chmakova does an excellent job at portraying how squirmish introverts can be at a time when passing notes, talking to the teacher, making new friends, and apologizing for things you’ve done can be a nerve-wracking situation. Even the different members of the large, diverse supporting cast of characters, including the Art Club, the Science Club, teacher supervisors, parents of some of the cast, and even the bullies, are fleshed out and given time to shine.” – School Library Journal

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
For ages 8-14
Library Catalog: Print
Libby: eBook

Lumberjanes comic books collaborator Leyh expertly blends fantasy and realism in her energetic debut solo middle-grade graphic novel. ‘Our town has a witch. She fed her eye to the devil. She eats roadkill and casts spells with the bones.' Snapdragon knows the rumors, but after the ‘roadkill witch’ rescues Snap’s beloved dog and agrees to foster abandoned possum babies, Snap starts to think all may not be as it seems…Leyh’s characters are fully realized, from Snap’s simultaneously overflowing skepticism and enthusiasm to her dynamic with her single working-while-in-school mom, from Jacks’ quiet history with Snap’s grandma to Snap’s new best friend’s transition to wearing skirts, loving nail polish, and being called Lulu. Their world isn’t perfect: Snap and Lulu are bullied at school, economic struggles are apparent, and Snap’s mom’s abusive ex-boyfriend shows up more than once (including in a finale that has a twinge of deus ex machina). Jacks is white while Snap, her family, Lulu, and most secondary characters are coded as black—all, refreshingly, presenting with a realistic variety of skin tones and hair colors and textures. Sweet and fierce, this is a must-have.” – Kirkus Reviews

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee
For ages 9-13
Library Catalog: Print

“A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics…Mattie’s genuine inflections and stream-of-consciousness narrative resonate well with the early-adolescent experience. Mattie is fortunate to have a very supportive family, loyal friends, and a mentor teacher as well as diverse classmates that are perhaps more tolerant than most middle schoolers realistically are. This idealized, benevolent society lends a very rosy tinge to a tale of questioning one’s burgeoning sexuality, which may feel false to some older or more jaded readers. Nevertheless, readers cannot help but root for Mattie as she discovers bravery she never gave herself credit for, both onstage and in life. While the plot revolves around Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, this story is far from one.” – Kirkus Reviews

El Deafo by Cece Bell
For ages 8+
Library Catalog: Print
Libby: eBook

“Cece loses her hearing from spinal meningitis, and takes readers through the arduous journey of learning to lip read and decipher the noise of her hearing aid, with the goal of finding a true friend. This warmly and humorously illustrated full-color graphic novel set in the suburban '70s has all the gripping characters and inflated melodrama of late childhood: a crush on a neighborhood boy, the bossy friend, the too-sensitive-to-her-Deafness friend, and the perfect friend, scared away…Bell tells it all: the joy of removing her hearing aid in summer, the troubles watching the TV when the actor turns his back, and the agony of slumber party chats in the dark. Included is an honest and revealing afterword, which addresses the author's early decision not to learn ASL, her more mature appreciation for the language, and her adage that, ‘Our differences are our superpowers.’” – School Library Journal

All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
For ages 9-12
Library Catalog: Print
Libby: eBook

“Imogene doesn’t have much trouble sliding into her new role at the faire, but middle school is another story. Rules about who to sit with, what to wear, and how to fit in are confounding, especially when she’s getting some seriously mixed messages from the popular girls in her class and realizing how different her family is. Jamieson’s appealing, naturalistic artwork, full of warm tones, realistic-looking characters, and saturated colors, playfully incorporates medieval imagery along with Imogene’s more mundane homelife, particularly when Imogene fears that her misbehavior at home, thanks to frustrations at school, makes her more of a dragon than a knight. Jamieson masterfully taps into the voice and concerns of middle-schoolers, and the offbeat setting of the Renaissance faire adds some lively texture. Kids who loved Jamieson’s Roller Girl (2015) will adore this one, too.” – Booklist

Our #WPReadBannedBooks programs are made possible with support from the White Plains Library Foundation.

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