Saturday, September 29, 2018

Banned Book Week: Graphic Novel: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama has appeared on the banned book list for a few years now and has been banned in several Texas schools due to the sexual orientation of the characters in this graphic novel. 

Read for: Graphic Novel Challenge/ Recent Purchase and Banned Book Week


Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can't really sing. Instead she's the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!"

My Review: I had noticed this book a while ago and had put it on my TBR but didn't get around to it until now, when I discovered it is on the banned book list. This graphic novel is cute and entertaining, so much drama in one book. I love that this book focuses more on the backstage of the school play and doesn't revolve around the lead cast. Callie is a great character that is full of personality and determination, I love how she just pulls in the people around her. It also has a light-hearted look at the typical high school drama of friendships and relationships breaking apart and coming back together, and who is mad at who, all the typical teen drama. It is a good, clean and fun graphic novel for young teens (but can be enjoyed by everyone).

My Rating: This one is so cute, there is a lot of that high school drama but without it being annoying like I find a lot of YA contemporaries to be. I really enjoyed it and give it a rating of Four Paws!

I honestly cannot even comprehend what someone would see in this book worthy of a ban. There is no drugs, no foul language, not even a hint of explicit scenes or language.  To ban a book simply for the orientation of the characters is completely crazy in today's world. This is a sweet and entertaining graphic novel about finding yourself and being confident in your own personality, body and skills. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Banned Book Week: Bedtime Story: I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings

I am Jazz has been challenged every year since it's release due to the portrayal of a transgender child. It has also been challenged for offensive language and for religious reasons, and challenged for misrepresentations. Banned Book posted a feature which also includes a story about how a school stood behind the policy allowing the book to be read in class despite parent complaints.  

Read for: Children's Book Challenge & Banned Book Week

Synopsis: "The story of a transgender child based on the real-life experience of Jazz Jennings, who has become a spokesperson for transkids everywhere.

From the time she was two years old, Jazz knew that she had a girl's brain in a boy's body. She loved pink and dressing up as a mermaid and didn't feel like herself in boys' clothing. This confused her family, until they took her to a doctor who said that Jazz was transgender and that she was born that way. Jazz's story is based on her real-life experience and she tells it in a simple, clear way that will be appreciated by picture book readers, their parents, and teachers."

My Review: I picked this book up for Banned Book Week after noticing it has been in the top 10 list for a few years now. I found this to be a really cute book and it was a great conversation starter with children. I have seen some argue that the terms used in this book could be offensive to transgender individuals, but I think it does a very good job using the easiest terms for kids to understand and still convey the message, as kids get older you can educate them more on proper terms and less labels. It was a great way to start a conversation about how we are each individual and should strive to be our best selves no matter who that is.

My Rating: This was a great book to start the conversation with Munchkin, he has questions and this is a great way for me to learn more and also him.  It is such a great thing to see how kids are so open and accepting.  I give this one a rating of Four Paws.

Again, there is absolutely no reason this book should be removed from shelves. Not only did I read this for the blog but I also read it with my 6 year old son, it is never too early to  expose them to controversial books. Of course I read it first to be sure it conveyed the message in a way that I felt he could understand but in the end it was a great moment to share with him.

Good Night! Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Banned Book Week: Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks as Anonymous

Go Ask Alice remains one of the most challenged and banned books, it appeared at #25 of the top Banned Book list of the 90s and #18 of the 2000s. It has been banned from numerous schools and libraries since originally published in 1971 and continues to be challenged. 

Read for: Mount TBR & Banned Books Week

Synopsis: "A teen plunges into a downward spiral of addiction in this classic cautionary tale.

January 24th

After you've had it, there isn't even life without drugs.... 

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth -- and ultimately her life."

My Review: I picked this book up for banned book week because it is rather high on the list of top banned books, and I had never read it before. It is interesting to see the narrating character go from such highs to such lows and back up before the drug use even started. I am not too keen on the fact that she never really took any responsibility for her actions as the journal progressed, she blamed her drug use on others saying she was forced into it. I also found it odd that she had several periods that she abstained from using but never had any issues quitting cold turkey. Obviously, this is meant as a cautionary tale and put the fear of drugs and 'bad kids' in the younger readers. I have never experienced any of these things so I can't talk to how real it all is but it would be a good book to use for discussion but clearly not an all encompassing book to refer to.

My Rating: I can understand what the author was trying to do here, I don't know how effective it has been though. Personally I do not enjoy reading books with drug use in them but pushed to read this book for banned book week. I give it a rating of Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

This book obviously contains a lot of drug use, explicit language and depictions of sex and rape. For me it is just plain unappealing to read but not worth banning.  Would I want my child reading it, not until I felt he personally was ready to read it and with open discussions, but that doesn't mean that it should be removed from other kids' abilities to read. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Covers - Banned Books Edition

Top 5 Wednesday is a group on Goodreads hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes on Youtube.

This weeks topic for Top 5 Wednesday is our favorite covers, and I know it was meant to feature new release covers, but being banned books week I thought I would share some of my favorite covers of banned books.  Here is just one more reason to pick up a banned book and read it, check out some of these covers . . .

This is a bind up of the three of the books from the His Dark Materials Series and this cover really makes me want to read it!
This series has faced a lot of opposition since the original release of The Golden Compass in 1995, appearing on several banned and challenged book lists, even appearing at 8 in the banned book list for the '00 decade. The main reason for challenge seems to be the way religion is depicted in this Fantasy series.

I never really had The Picture of Dorian Gray on my TBR list until I saw this gorgeous purple cover, it has now been added to my shelves and is waiting to be read.
The original text was banned for many years both in the US and England due to the explicit scenes and sexual orientation.  

The Kite Runner is another one that I have not read yet but this cover is definitely the most beautiful one I have seen for this book!
The Kite Runner has appeared on several top ten banned book lists, the most common reasons for the challenges and bans include violence, explicit scenes and religious views.

So often you see Leaves of Grass with a picture of Walt Whitman as an old guy on the cover and it really isn't all that appealing, however this cover might convince me to read it,
Leaves of Grass was banned from being sold in Boston in the 1880s for the sexual representation and explicit language. 

I seriously couldn't pick just one cover for Call of the Wild, there are just too many beautiful editions of this book! I think I need to get a physical copy to put on my shelves and re-read.
Call of the Wild was banned in both Italy and Yugoslavia and even burned by Nazi parties, it appears the reasons were for view points, and it is often challenged due to the violence.

So many beautiful covers on these banned books, what are some of your favorite editions of banned books?

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Banned Book Week: George by Alex Gino

George has appeared on the Top 10 Banned Book List every year since being published in 2015. The reasons for the challenges and bans include language and the main character being transgender. In Wichita, Kansas it was decided to not include it in the district's libraries and the author, Alex Gino, and others raised the funds to put copies of George in the libraries. You can find out more about the history of challenges and bans to George on

Read for: Banned Book Week & Recent purchase

Synopsis: "When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. 

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be "Charlotte's Web." George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part ...because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte - but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all."

My Review: I have been eyeing this book for a couple of years now and was finally able to get my hands on a copy. It was a really eye opening book for me. We really get a sense of George's struggle and anxiety over whether to tell family, friends and teachers that she is a girl. We also get a little more of an honest reaction from her mom than I have seen in other books, first denial before the eventual acceptance but there was always love. I read this for banned book week and am disappointed to hear how it had been challenged many times and even organizations pressuring the publisher Scholastic to stop printing it. This is a book that many young readers may need in their lives, those hiding who they are out of fear need to have books that they can relate to and find encouragement from. I am actually donating my copy to an office that assists kids and pre-teens in situations where they are struggling to be who they are or find acceptance.

My Rating: This was such a sweet book, you can't help but love George and her amazing friends and family.  I give it a rating of Four Paws and a Stump Wag.

I honestly can't even begin to comprehend why this book would be banned other than personal opinions.  I didn't come across any language that a middle grade reader wouldn't hear on a normal basis on TV or anywhere in public. I also found it to be a very inspiring story, and it really will open eyes.  I think it will help not only transgender children struggling with their own identity but also help other children and adults to be more open, understanding and supportive.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Monday Reading List

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Sweep: A Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
Sin du Jour Series by Matt Wallace (series review)
What is a Wookie? by Laura Buller (Early Reader)

 Books Finished Last Week:
Reviews will be posted at a later date

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas
Bright We Burn
And the Ocean Was Our Sky
Frankenstein Alive Trio
Frankenstein Alive #4
Let's Get Started: Taking Initiative

Currently Reading:
Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller - Print - on page 36 of  416
Ash by Malinda Lo - Audio - 63%
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein - Print - on page 82 of 304

Pages Read/ Time Listened
453:21 Hours Listened (2:30 listened this week)
32,189 Pages Read (1,100 this week)

Books Added to Shelves Recently: TBR
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
We Have Always Lived in a Castle by Shirley Jackson
To the Sky Kingdom by Tang Qi
Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher
Dead Man's Walk by Larry McMurtry
Luck Love and Lemon Pie by Amy E. Reichert Unhaul
Beartown by Fredrik Backman
Terrier by Tamora Pierce
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
Reflections of Yesterday by Debbie Macomber
Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson
Caging the Merrow by Heather Rigney
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Opel
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
The Scandalous MacKenzies by Jennifer Ashley
The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley
The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley
Frankenstein Alive! Alive! Trio by Steve Niles
Frankenstein, Alive! Alive! #4 by Steve Niles
Hard to Serve by Laura Kaye
Mastering Her Senses by Laura Kaye
Theirs to Take by Laura Kaye
Nightblade's Vengeance by Ryan Kirk
Tomorrowland by Steven Kotler
The Wolf by Leo Carew
My Lady's Choosing by Kitty Curran & Larissa Zageris
Beyond the Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake
Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso
True North by Marie Force
The Sorting Room by Angelina Singer
Lost Stars by Claudia Gray
Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
Frankenstein Dreams by Michael Sims
The Belgaraid by David Eddings
Death Sworn by Leah Cypess
Sherlock Holmes and the Army of Dr. Moreau by Guy Adams
Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
Fight for Everything by Laura Kaye
Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan Unhauled
Light as Air by Mari Carr
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper
Half Drowned King by Linnea Hartsuyker
The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Guardian of Whills by Greg Rucka
Such Wicked Intent by Kenneth Opal
And I Darken by Kiersten White
Frostbite by Joshua Williamson
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Pirateology by Dugald Steer
Memoirs of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Theodore Roszak
LifeL1k3 by Jay Kristoff Unhauled
Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Perez Unhauled
The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon DNF - Unhaul
Now I Rise by Kiersten White
Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsay Ely
The Pirate by Harold Schechter
Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Bob by Wendy Mass
George by Alex Gino
These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch Unhaul
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Peace Like a River by Leif Enger
Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Assassin's Gambit by Amy Raby
Refugee by Alan Gratz
And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier
Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry
None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Words We Don't Say by K.J. Reilly
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
Misty Inn Collection Books 1-4 by Kristen Earhart
Adventures of Laura and Jack by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Ugh! How is it Monday again already?! It was such a busy week last week and a whirl wind of a weekend at the Boston Teen Author Festival that I feel like I need another weekend to recover.  As much as I love attending these big author functions, as someone who has anxiety, it is truly a struggle. I ended up with such a massive headache by the end that it was difficult to drive home. I really do find myself lucky to meet some really amazing authors and people but it is a lot for me, especially having to face it all on my own with no friend to act as a buffer for me.  So I had to take time on Sunday to try to catch up on chores and attempt to recover, I think I will need a few more days, all I want to do is curl up in a quiet corner alone with my books.

In other news, it is Banned Book Week! I have some banned books to share with you all week this week.  I am currently reading Go Ask Alice, one of the more controversial books in recent history.  What banned or challenged book will you be reading this week?