April Tweens Talk Banned Books

April Tweens Talk Banned Books
Grades 4-6
April 27th at 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Location: Galaxy Hall
Registration required. Register here

As cases of censorship have grown more widespread throughout the U.S., the Library has kicked off a celebration of banned books – #WPFreedomToRead – that started during Banned Books Week (September 18-24 2022.)

Join us at the Trove for a bi-monthly book club designed for tweens in grades 4-6, Tweens Talk Banned Books, to discuss challenged books!  Our book discussion series seeks to engage in open and honest conversations about diverse books and sometimes difficult material as an alternative to book banning. There will be a trivia game (with a sweet treat for the winners!), and we will provide a free copy of the book to the first eight individuals to register. When the books are available, we will email to arrange pickup; please list an email address when registering.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, our April book pick is the novel-in-verse, Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson. You can place a hold on the print book or book on CD with your library card here, the eBook on Libby here, or the audiobook on Libby here.

In Before the Ever After, for as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that–but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past? Jacqueline Woodson's moving novel-in-verse explores the cost of professional sports on athlete’s bodies and Black bodies in particular.

Before the Ever After is another one of the numerous titles banned by the Central York School District’s board in 2020. Cyril Mychalejko writes in his article for The Bucks County Beacon, “In the summer of 2020, Central York School District’s diversity committee put together a list of books and educational resources for teachers and students to use as the local community, like the rest of the nation, struggled to make sense of the murder of George Floyd and the deep racial and social strife that ensued. However, the district’s all-white, right-wing school board apparently didn’t think resources like a ‘Sesame Street’ town hall on racism and books such as ‘Who is Rosa Parks?’ and ‘The Hate U Give’  were appropriate. They banned the entire list.” After concerted anti-ban protest efforts by teachers, students and parents in the community, the full list of resources was reinstated by the school board in September 2021. I recommend Mychalejko’s full article, Teachers, Students and the Central York Community Defeated a Racist Book Ban in Their School District, for further reading. Even though several Central York County Board members who were advocates of the ban in 2020 lost their seats, the struggle to stop hatred continues in the district and elsewhere in Pennsylvania as conservative groups pour money into local school board elections. To read more about the continuing battles I recommend Meredith Willse’s article for The York Dispatch, Political Groups Eye a Key 2023 Battleground: Local School Boards.

Jacqueline Woodson is an American writer of books for adults, children, and adolescents. She is best known for her National Book Award-Winning memoir Brown Girl Dreaming, and her Newbery Honor-winning titles After Tupac and D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way. Her picture books, The Day You Begin and The Year We Learned to Fly were New York Times Bestsellers. After serving as the Young People’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017, she was named the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature by the Library of Congress for 2018–19. She was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2020. Later that same year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. Read more about Jacqueline Woodson at her website, JacquelineWoodson.com.

Before the Ever After was the ALA 2021 Coretta Scott King Award winner for Author, and a 2021 NAACP Image Award winner for Outstanding Literary Work Youth/Teens.The novel received starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Publishers Weekly.

This program is made possible with support from the White Plains Library Foundation.
Categories: Library News.

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