Sunday, October 31, 2010

In My Mailbox

Seeing as I forgot to do this last weekend, here are the books I got over these two weeks. And what a busy week. We hosted James Dashner! I read Forge by laurie Halse Anderson, Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (LOVED it and am just sad the series is now over), The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, and am in the middle of Will Grayson, will grayson (which I absolutely love so far). And now to the books, with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme.

1. Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Yay. I have wanted this for ages.
Amy is a cryogenically frozen passenger aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed. She expects to wake up on a new planet, 300 years in the future. But fifty years before Godspeed's scheduled landing, Amy's cryo chamber is unplugged, and she is nearly killed. Now, Amy is caught inside an enclosed world where nothing makes sense. Godspeed's passengers have forfeited all control to Eldest, a tyrannical and frightening leader, and Elder, his rebellious and brilliant teenage heir. Amy desperately wants to trust Elder. But should she? All she knows is that she must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets before whoever woke her tries to kill again. Sounds so good. Straight to the top of my toppling TBR pile!

2. Chime by Franny Billingsley
Before Briony's stepmother died, she made sure Briony blamed herself for all the family's hardships. Now Briony has worn her guilt for so long it's become a second skin. She often escapes to the swamp, where she tells stories to the Old Ones, the spirits who haunt the marshes. But only witches can see the Old Ones, and in her village, witches are sentenced to death. Briony lives in fear her secret will be found out, even as she believes she deserves the worst kind of punishment. Then Eldric comes along with his golden lion eyes and mane of tawny hair. He's as natural as the sun, and treats her as if she's extraordinary. And everything starts to change. As many secrets as Briony has been holding, there are secrets even she doesn't know.

3. Between Shades of gray by Ruta Sepetys
Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.

All three sound great don't you think? What did you get?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

James Dashner talking about The Scorch Trials

I know - I've talked about James Dashner all week. But I have to post this great video of James talking about The Scorch Trials just after his event:

Don't forget: next wednesday join us to meet Suzanne Collins!

Friday, October 29, 2010

James Dashner

It’s no secret that my heart is with teen literature. I love the books, the authors, the readers, the events. They are fun, energized. The fans are avid. They come with a plethora of questions. Monday night we hosted James Dashner who was engaging, entertaining, and funny. Hard to believe he was an accountant in a previous life (he asked if there were any accountants in the audience and was a little surprised to find there were actually two!).

James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia and attended Brigham Young University. He currently lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He is the author of The 13th Reality Series and The Maze Runner series, both of which I think are brilliant. He is now a full-time writer and says he drew inspiration for The Maze Runner from both Ender’s Game and The Lord of the Flies.

He talked about his love of literature, and his love of movies. That reading should be part of every writer’s day. And that he also drew inspiration from the many movies he’s seen (he told everyone they should go and see Inception if they haven’t yet seen it!). Did you wonder about the slang in the book? I know I did. Apparently it was for many reasons: to suggest a time in the future where language has changed, to allow kids in the novel to say more than “gosh darn” but still be appropriate for middle schoolers, and to give readers a taste of the disorientation that Thomas feels all along.

Did you wonder whether Dashner was introducing a love triangle for Thomas/Teresa/Brenda? He says no. And, as I mentioned in my review earlier this week, Dashner admitted he wanted to leave a clue for the readers at the end of The Scorch Trials but his editor took it out, wanting to keep it for Book 3. However, that if you read the epilogue and the remembered dreams carefully you could figure it out. So that’s what I’m planning on doing (even though I haven't yet) so if you figure it out first, remember to tell me too!

And these photos are courtesy of the lovely Tricia, who takes amazing photos don't you think? Thank you Tricia.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner - Review

You’d think that everything would be explained once they made it out of the maze, wouldn’t you? No more running, no more fighting. They deserved an explanation and their memories back. But when they wake up they find that Teresa has been taken away and replaced by a boy called Aris, who says he was with another group in what sounds like a similar maze. And now the boys are faced with another harder test: cross the Scorch and get to the safe haven in two weeks. Of course WICKED has made sure this is no easy task. The Scorch is a brutal wasteland. They face terrifying challenges, including people with a horrific disease called the Flare. Thomas knows another group is meant to kill him. And then there’s how he will deal with being betrayed. When people lie to you continuously, and your memories start to creep back telling you something completely different, how can you know what is real, who to trust, and what was set up by WICKED. Will they ever be free, do they really hold the answers to humanity’s survival, or will these trials simply go on forever until they are broken?

I loved The Maze Runner, and I simply could not put The Scorch Trials down. I sat up late into the night, holding my breath, trying to work out where this plot was going. It manages to stay as scary, as exciting, as unpredictable as The Maze Runner, answering a few questions while throwing out so many more, introducing some great new characters, and leaving you wanting the next book RIGHT NOW.

By the way, James said he was going to give away a huge clue at the end of Book 2 but his editor made him take it out and save it for Book 3. But that if you read the epilogue carefully, and went back to look at all the dreams Thomas remembers, you can work it out. So that's what I'm going to do today (you knew I'd say that - right?) But if you work it out - make sure to let me know!

I'll post event photos and details tomorrow.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Q and A with James Dashner

Because I'm preparing to host James Dashner tonight, I'm posting this Q and A session I found.

What do you want to ask him?

James Dashner

I'm such a huge fan of James Dashner's books and he'll be at Kepler's tonight at 7.00. So excited. Join me if you are in the area.

Take a look at this book trailer for The Scorch Trilas. It's brilliant. Can't wait.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hunger Games Movie

Like all of you, I LOVE The Hunger Games. And have wondered how they are going to make it into a movie, stay true to the story yet keep it PG-13. But today Entertainment Weekly asked another question:
Is Rue black? And should race matter when you're casting the movie?
Click here for original article.

So far eveyone is talking about who will play Katniss but what about Rue? She's the youngest tribute (12 years old) in the 74th Hunger Games, and would be a difficult role for anyone to play. But apparently Rue is clearly described as having “satiny brown skin” on page 98. (Er hem, I have to admit I didn’t know that Rue and Thresh were black. I raced through the book and seemed to fly past a lot of detail. Eeek - what else did I miss? Must go back before Suzanne Collins visits us.) But now the details are important when casting the movie.

So Entertainment Weekly asks the question: how important do you think this is? It wouldn't alter the structure of the book or movie but it would be so much better to include diversity, especially as it is in the book. What do you think? Will you be offended? Let me know.

Nightshade by Andrew Cremer - Review

Did you see that Entertainment Weekly picked Nightshade by Andrea Cremer as their book pick of the day? Loved. loved. loved that book. See EW. com here. Here's my review

Shay finds three distinct groups at his new school: the children of keepers at the top; guardians, who can change into wolf form, in the middle; and humans at the bottom. And the girl who saved his life a few days ago, a guardian, seems to want to pretend it didn't happen. Shay has no idea that Calla risked her life to save him, that the tattoo on his neck marks him as a scion, or that his uncle is a keeper. He just wants to get to know Calla better. But Calla is promised to Ren, and soon she must decide between love or duty, pack or self. Certainties fall apart and truths turn to dust. She glimpses a future filled with a freedom both unthinkable and seemingly unreachable. But is this future – and this boy – worth the risk?

I started this book on a plane ride to New York and didn't look up until people were nudging me to leave. I was mesmerized, held hostage, and found it very hard to unearth myself from this unusual and twisted world. This stand-out debut will be a star-maker for Andrea Cremer. Don't miss it.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Guys Read, edited by Jon Scieszka - Review

I love funny books - don't think there are enough of them - so today I'm posting Shannon's review of Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka and am turning to this just as soon as I've finished Forge.

WARNING: This book is known to cause involuntary laughter that makes the reader appear slightly strange as he (or she) attempts to choke back his giggles. This vain attempt to appear sane may result in convulsions, a red face, watering eyes, and half-swallowed chortles that will alarm nearby persons. In some cases, this book has been found to cause the spontaneous need to share by reading sections aloud to anyone nearby.

Jon Scieszka, the genius behind The Stinky Cheese Man and other bitingly witty and devastatingly funny books, is the mastermind of Guys Read. He assembles a veritable who's who of children’s literature (Eoin Colfer, Kate Di Camillo, and Jeff Kinney, to name a few) to write some of the funniest stories I’ve seen in a while. Between these pages you will find blood-thirsty turkeys, incompetent cyber villains, scraggly bikers, and boils in...ahem...inconvenient places. Girls, boys, grown ups (especially fake grown ups like me), even (dare I say it?), teenagers will find these stories funny. Buy it now and give it to everyone you know who likes to laugh.

She sold me. And if you need any more convincing watch this video

Finally, remember that Mac Barnett (one of the contributing authors and on the video) will be at Kepler's on November 16th. Should be fun.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

In My Mailbox

Can it be sunday again? Wow. This week just flew by. We hosted Tony DiTerlizzi this week who was fabulous. I read his Search for WondLa and The Scorch Trilas this week, both brilliant (and oh, can't wait to meet James Dashner!). Busy week nut here Aare the two books I got his week - and again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme.

1. Haven by Kristi Cook
Violet McKenna isn't a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad's murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She's had flashes of other events too. The problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven. At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group of friends and discovers that they too have psychic 'gifts'--as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy's death start to haunt her. In her premonitions the secret he is unwilling to share begi

2. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace.

Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad.

Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history.

Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Friday, October 15, 2010

National Book Award Finalists Named

Yes - they've announced the finalists for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Click here for more details.

Here are the finalists:

Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker
Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird
Laura McNeal, Dark Water
Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown
Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer

Do you have a favorite in this lists? Have to admit I don't. Hm, which to start first...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride - Review

If only Sam was better at potato hockey, the day would have been very different. But a broken tail light leads an unhappy customer to Sam - and that customer is Douglas, a powerful necromancer with a fondness for violence. And he thinks Sam might be useful - as a partner.

Douglas gives Sam one week to figure out how to use his latent powers. But Sam has no idea about this OR how to deal with Douglas, who doesn't seem very pleased to find another necromancer in his community.

Add to this a talking head, a caged half-were, some witches, a zombie panda, and a best friend on a skateboard (well, it is Seattle after all) and you'll get a hint of why I loved this book so much. It's totally original, funny, fast paced, and creepy all at the same time. With song titles as chapter heads. Loved it.

Oh, and it came out today!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Becca Fitzpatrick

Becca Fitzpatrick was originally supposed to come to Kepler’s with the Smart Chicks tour but sadly had to cancel, disappointing so many of us. I should admit right now that I was given the arc of Hush Hush when it came out without a cover or blurb, and told to drop everything and read it because it was that good. I was in the middle of something else and unwilling but was so glad I did because it was SO good.

So, 40 of her fans came to see her, traveling from as far afield as Sacramento and Modesto. They arrived earlier and many wore the halos we put out (most choosing black for fallen angels this time!). And I'll admit that if I wasn’t such a fangirl, I would never have been persuaded to read with Becca because she wanted someone who could fake an Irish accent for the part of Rixon. Really (would I make this up?)

Becca Fitzfatrick’s love for telling stories started in kindergarten. At night when
Becca and her sister Heather were supposed to be sleeping, they would make up new episodes in an ongoing tale called THE BUS ADVENTURES. We asked about this, apparently they were gruesome. She discovered Nancy Drew and Roald Dahl but it was Romancing the Stone that convinced Becca she wanted to be a writer (even though she did go through a phase in college when she wanted to be a spy). She graduated college with a degree in health, which she promptly abandoned for storytelling. Hush, Hush, debuted as a New York Times bestseller despite the many many rejections she had along the way. SO her advice for aspiring writers was: persevere.

Apparently the cover is upside down. A large chain book store refused the cover the right way up and said if it wasn’t changed they wouldn’t stock it. So that’s why he appears to be doing a backflip! (That said, it did win my very haphazard cover of the year contest.) Oh, and Becca wrote Hush Hush as a one off, stand-alone novel. If you were wondering.

Here's Becca talking about Crescendo:

Thanks to Breanna for the photos. I haven't uploaded mine yet (sorry, will do soon)

In My Mailbox

I'm a little late with my IMM this week. I hosted Penny Noyce on Friday, Becca Fitzpatrick (!) on Saturday and Lemony Snicket and Lisa Brown on Sunday so a little busy. I finished Crescendo, Juliet, Naked (OK not a teen book), and am reading The Scorch Trials, Anyway, here are the books I got his week and again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme.

1. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
In the not too distant future, because of genetic engineering, every human is a ticking time bomb.
Nancy, the lovely Ravenous Reader, told me about this and I am so glad to have it in my pile.

2. Haven By Kristi Cook
Violet is drawn to Winerhaven School, where veryone has psychic gifts so she no longer has to hide her visions. Bur when she has visions of the most alluring boy in school's death she's thrown off balance because she's never been able to prevent them from coming true before.

Both look great. But first back to the Scorch Trials. Can't wait to meet James Dashner

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Teen Romance Panel Videos

Here are the videos Lisa Desrochers, Sophie Jordan, and Kiersten White made for me this week.

First Lisa Desrochers talking about Personal Demons

Sophie Jordan talking about Firelight

And here's Kiersten White talking about Paranormalcy

Teen Romance Panel

Still talking about this, yes - but don't you want to see photos? Monday we hosted the Teen Romance Extraordinaire Panel: Lisa Desrochers, Kiersten White, and Sophie Jordan. We were just so excited that they were stopping at Kepler's.

Lisa Desrochers is relatively local and comes to many of our teen events. She lives in Central California with her family (and brought her two teen daughters with her). She has a full time physical therapy practice, lectures internationally on health care issues, and writes in her spare time(impressive - right?)

Kiersten White is shorter than me (doesn't happen often) and lives in San Diego with an apparently tall husband and two small kids where life is perfectly normal. This abundance of normal led her to a fascination with all things paranormal, including but not limited to vampires, faeries, and pop culture.

Sophie Jordan grew up weaving fantasies of dragons, warriors, and princesses. A former high school English teacher, she's also the bestselling author of Avon historical romances. She now lives in Houston and also writes paranormal romances under the name Sharie Kohler.

Almost 40 eager fans packed our event (including local authors Heidi Kling and Daisy Whitney) - and we gave them halos (again), vampire teeth and glow sticks (I saw a lot of swapping...!) LOTS of questions, Heidi sold her books to the audience and signed too. LOTS of interest in Becca Fitzpatrick, who will be here on Saturday. All three authors talked of their paths to publication, their inspiration, their influences, their writing styles, their covers (I love love love the paranormalcy cover), posed happily for photos, made short videos for me (will post later), and talked to all the local bloggers.

Such fun. Just finished Firelight (review soon). They were awesome - if you have a
chance to hear them talk about their books, don't hesitate to go. Becca Fitzpatrick on Saturday - don't forget. 6.00. We'll be selling Crescendo EARLY! (They have already arrived.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Teaser Tuesday

OK, I know it's wednesday but I missed doing this yesterday and we just hosted our Teen Romance panel (which was so fun) and I'm almost finished Firelight (yes, I have already finished Paranormalcy and Personal Demons). This meme originated with MizB of Should Be Reading and anyone can play along. Just do the following:

-Grab your current read.
-Open to a random page.
-Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
-BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
-Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers

And yes, as I said before, the teaser is from Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Smoke puffs from my nose. I don't want it to happen. it just ... does. I usually have more power over it, but fear robs me of my control...

My heart pounds in my chest as he draws closer. I know the precise moment he sees me. He freezes, still in the water, sinking low, his lips brushing the waterline.

We stare at each other.

It will happen now. He will call the others. They will swarm on me like hungry predators...

Then he moves, swims closer in an easy glide...He doesn't look hard, as I'd imagined. He doesn't look evil. He looks ...curious.

Now doesn't that make you want to move it to the top of your reading pile?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Teen Romance Extraordinaire tonight

Teen Romance Extraordinaire tonight. Come and meet Lisa Desrochers (Personal Demons), Sophie Jordan (Firelight) and Kiersten White 9Paranormalcy) talk about their wonderful debut novels. 7.00 pm at Kepler's in Menlo Park

And because I've just found it here's the book trailer for Firelight

Can't wait

Sunday, October 3, 2010

In My Mailbox

Can it really be sunday again? Wow the week went quickly. We hosted Lauren Kate (who was awesome). I finished Hold Me Closer Necromancer by Lish McBride (yes I got another copy) and The Miles Between by Mary Pearson (SO not like Jenna Fox!). And here are the books I got this week. Again with thanks to the Story Siren for hosting this meme.

1. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr
You can't possibly know how excited I was to receive this. When Melissa arrived with the Smart Chicks and had a copy to give away, I said, "So it's for me - right?" Wrong. It was to give away to a member of the audience. But now I have my own copy and I just can't wait to find out how the series will end, because I've loved it SO much. In this final conflict some will win and some will lose everything.
Oh, I just can't wait to start this.

2. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by AS King
Dust of 100 Dogs is one of my favorite novels. It is absolutely unlike anything else I've read so I'm eager to see what she's written next.
Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?

3. Strings Attached by Judi Blundell
What I Saw and How I Lied was fantastic, well deserving of it's National Book Award and I'm hoping this is just as good. Again a great moody noirish cover and a tag line: Every favor comes with a price
When Kit Corrigan arrives in New York City, she doesn't have much. She's fled from her family in Providence, Rhode Island, and she's broken off her tempestuous relationship with a boy named Billy, who's enlisted in the army.The city doesn't exactly welcome her with open arms. She gets a bit part as a chorus girl in a Broadway show, but she knows that's not going to last very long. She needs help--and then it comes, from an unexpected source. Nate Benedict is Billy's father. He's also a lawyer involved in the mob. He makes Kit a deal--he'll give her an apartment and introduce her to a new crowd. All she has to do is keep him informed about Billy and maybe do him a favor every now and then.

4. Timeless by Alexandra Monir
When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist. And she finds herself falling for him, into an otherworldly, time-crossed romance. Michele is soon leading a double life, struggling to balance her contemporary high school world with her escapes into the past. But when she stumbles upon a terrible discovery, she is propelled on a race through history to save the boy she loves – a quest that will determine the fate of both of their lives.

5. The Romeo and Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone
Felicity's parents have a secret. When they leave her with distant relatives in Maine, Felicity hopes they won't leave her long. Her new Uncle Gideon hides things. Her Aunt Miami is star-crossed. And Derek, a kid her age, refuses to leave his room. But Felicity needs Derek's help. Gideon is getting coded letters from Felicity's parents, and she's sure they're in trouble. Can Felicity crack the code, heal the family and save her parents, all while surviving her first crush?

6. Kindred by Tammar Stein
Miriam is an unassuming college freshman stuck on campus after her spring break plans fall through. She's not a religious girl--when pressed she admits reluctantly to believing in a higher power. Truth be told, she's about as comfortable speaking about her faith as she is about her love life, which is to say, not at all. And then the archangel Raphael pays Miriam a visit, and she finds herself on a desperate mission to save two of her contemporaries. To top it all off, her twin brother, Mo, has also had a visitation, but from the opposite end of the good-evil spectrum, which leaves Miriam to wonder--has she been blessed and her brother cursed or vice versa? And what is the real purpose behind her mission?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

10 Banned Books You Might Not Expect

From Yahoo news comes this list of 10 Banned Books You Might Not Expect for Banned Bood Week. Many of us have read the most commonly banned and challenged classics, including "The Great Gatsby," "The Catcher in the Rye," "1984" and "Catch-22." Some of the other titles on the list of banned and challenged books may surprise you. They surprised me!

"Captain Underpants"

Some folks had their underwear in a bunch over this children's book series by Dav Pilkey. The "Captain Underpants" series -- about two fourth-graders and their superhero of a principal -- was one of the top 10 most frequently banned and challenged books for 2002, 2004 and 2005. The books were said to contain offensive language, to be sexually explicit and to be anti-family.

"The Lord of the Rings"

J.R.R Tolkien's book was burned, not in the fires of Mount Doom, but outside of a church in Alamogordo, N.M., in 2001 because it was viewed as "Satanic."

Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary

When it comes to banning books, even the dictionary gets no respect. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary was pulled from the shelf of a school in Menifee, Calif. The offending term in the dictionary? "Oral sex." The entry references of the dictionary also included cunnilingus and fellatio, which were not cited as the reasons for pulling the dictionary off the shelf. Merriam-Webster has been publishing language reference books for more than 150 years. They were bound to offend someone along the way.

"Fahrenheit 451"

Could a book about censorship really be banned? Absolutely. Enter "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. The book has been banned by the Mississippi School District (1999). It's also No. 69 on the American Library Association's list of top banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009.

Harry Potter series

One of the most surprising banned books sits at the No. 1 spot on the ALA list. It's not even a book. It's the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter series is to teens what "Star Wars" was to an entire generation of now-40-somethings. The series has been challenged for occultism, Satanism, violence, being anti-family and having religious viewpoint. The series is No. 1 on the ALA's most challenged book list for 2000 to 2009.

"The Grapes of Wrath"

John Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" is not just another classic on the list. The book was originally banned in California due to obscenity, but the catalyst behind the banning was based more in embarrassment: The people in the region did not like how their area and the workers' situation was portrayed in the novel.

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?"

Most parents of kids under 5 have seen Eric Carle's art accompanying the book by Bill Martin. The Texas Board of Education banned the book, in January 2010, because it thought the book was written by the same Bill Martin who penned the nonchildren's book "Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation."

"James and the Giant Peach"

Author Roald Dahl is no stranger to being banned. His book "The Witches" is on the ALA's 100 most frequently challenged books for 1990 to 1999 for its depictions of women and witches. But what about James and his peach? Was there witchcraft at work? James was disobedient and there was violence in the book.

American Heritage Dictionary (1969)

The American Heritage Dictionary of 1969 was also banned in 1978 from a library in Eldon, Mo., because of 39 objectionable words. The dictionary continued to cause trouble as far away as Alaska, where it was banned by the Anchorage School Board in 1987 for its inclusion of slang words, including "balls."

Grimm's Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have always held a precarious place in children's literature. On one side, readers have fairy-tale purists who lament the morals lost in fairy tales that have been too cleaned up. Others object to any violence in fairy tales. A couple of California school districts found a whole new reason to ban Grimm's Fairy Tales in 1989: misuse of alcohol. Little Red Riding Hood's basket for her grandmother includes wine. Maybe it wasn't a California red.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - Review

Here's Sarah's review of The Replacement that has me searching through my piles of books looking for my copy (it sounds so good and perfect for this run up time to Halloween)

If the cover of The Replacement doesn't grab you immediately, I can only assume that you hate fun. This is a tale of coming-of-age, finding where you belong, and figuring out how to switch a fake baby for a real one under the nose of one seriously screwed-up fairy queen. Mackie, the hero of the tale, is a changeling. His real family are up to no good, and he's about to be sucked into some Very Bad Doings indeed. I loved that this take on old fairy mythology uses modern problems as an excuse for a town to ignore the Strange Happenings™ that guarantee their continued prosperity.

This is the perfect book to read on those cold, winter-y October nights. The creeping (and creepy) atmosphere never lets up, and there's a wicked sense of humor throughout. Read it, love it, and recommend it—just don't go hanging scissors over cribs once you've finished.