Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Banned Books Week

Did you know Banned Books Week is almost here? Banned Books Week (September 27 - October 3, 2020) celebrates the freedom to read and highlights attempts to censor books in libraries, bookstores, and schools. Banned Books Week was launched in the early 1980s in response to a surge of book challenges, protests, and the U.S. Supreme Court case Island Trees School District vs. Pico (1982) in which the Court ruled that the First Amendment limits the power of junior high and high school officials to remove books from school libraries because of their content. 

A major part of Banned Books Week is the list complied by the American Library Association of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books for the previous year. For 2019, the American Library Association tracked roughly 377 attempts to censor library materials and nearly 566 books that were challenged or banned. Considering that most challenges and bans are not reported, surveys indicate that 82-97% of book challenges are undocumented and receive no media attention, the numbers for 2019 are probably even higher. The most challenged book of 2019 was George by Alex Gino for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; for sexual references; and for conflicting with religious views and the "traditional" family structure. To see the complete 2019 Top Ten Challenged Books List, visit here.   


We want to help you celebrate your right to read. Please visit the Library to check out our Banned Books display, and read about the challenged and banned books below. A "challenge" means there was an attempt to remove or restrict a title based upon the objections of a person or group. A "ban" means a title was removed from a library or school. The list below was compiled with information from bibliographies by Robert P. Doyle and James LaRue. To view their complete lists of challenged, removed, restricted, or banned books, please visit here.  


This Day in June by Gayle E. Pittman: Challenged

This picture book with colorful, vibrant illustrations of a Pride Parade was challenged in Hood County, Texas in 2015. While it was decided that the book would be kept by the public library, the library compromised by moving it from the children's area to the adult section. In 2017, parents attempted to remove the book at the West Chicago Library in Illinois after their 3-year-old daughter picked it from the children's shelves. The library voted to retain it, but unlike the compromise made in Texas, the book remained in the children's section. In Orange City, Iowa This Day in June was one of several LGBTQIA+ materials challenged in a public petition from conservative and evangelical community members. They argued in the petition that This Day in June and other titles were indoctrinating children and pushing an agenda the community did not agree with. The petition asked that the LGBTQIA+ materials be moved and segregated from the rest of the library's collection. While all of the challenged books were eventually retained, one local religious activist checked out This Day in June and other LGBTQIA+ titles and burned them live on Facebook. The activist was charged with a misdemeanor and a GoFundMe raised thousands of dollars to replace the damaged materials.  

Drama by Raina Telgemeier: Challenged and Banned 

This graphic novel from the immensely popular Telegemeier follows the onstage and offstage drama of Callie and her friends during their middle school theatrical production of Moon Over Mississippi. Drama has made the American Library Association's Top Ten Most Challenged Books List five times since it's publication in 2012. The book has been challenged by critics for it's LGBTQIA+ characters, and for containing content that is "sexually explicit" and "inappropriate for the age of students reading." Drama has been banned multiple times in Texas between 2014 and 2017, including at the Franklin Middle School, Chapel Hill Elementary, and Kirbyville Middle School. In 2019, the graphic novel was banned from the Cedarburg School District in Wisconsin.    

Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey: Challenged and Banned

The graphic novel series that follows two prank loving boys as they create a superhero has been challenged and banned multiple times since the early 2000s. In 2012, the book series was actually banned more times than the 50 Shades of Grey series. The most common complaints? Offensive language, partial nudity, and for encouraging children to disobey authority. In 2001, the book was banned in Naugatuck, Connecticut because of the belief that it caused "unruly" behavior in children.  

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress by Christine Baldacchino: Challenged

Morris loves using his imagination for painting, singing, and creating all sorts of space adventures, but most of all Morris loves to wear the tangerine dress in his classroom's dress-up center. In 2016, a parent demanded the Forest Hills Public School District of Michigan ban the picture book because Morris wearing a dress didn't represent a "normal" way of life. The school district refused and the book was kept. Morris Micklewhite was one of the titles challenged and burned along with This Day in June in Orange City, Iowa. 

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: Challenged and Banned

Challenged and banned around the world for "promoting the gay agenda" and being "anti-family," this picture book tells the true story about two male penguins and their foster chick at the New York Central Park Zoo. And Tango Makes Three has consistently made the American Library Association's Top Ten Most Challenged Books List, and has faced challenges in the states of Illinois, Virginia, Iowa, California, and Utah just to name a few. Sugarland Elementary School in Loudon, Virginia moved the picture book to an area only accessible by parents and teachers after receiving parent complaints about the book's "gay themes." Challenges against And Tango Makes Three have been so consistent and widespread that Dr. Marta L. Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee published a study in 2011 analyzing the various motives behind the challenges to the picture book.   

Red: A Crayon's Story by Michael Hall: Challenged

Even though he has a bright red label, Red knows he is really a blue crayon. In California, a transgender kindergarten student gave Red and other books to her teacher so she could better understand her situation. The teacher read the books to the class and parents immediately complained to the school board that they were "blindsided." The school district responded by saying that the books were age appropriate and that the topic of gender identity did not require advance parental notice; however, the school superintendent did state that the district would be discussing the future presentation and use of materials outside of the approved curriculum.     

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss: Challenged

The lonely life of bunny Marlon Bundo changes dramatically when he falls in love with another boy bunny. HBO's Emmy winning Last Week Tonight with John Oliver created this picture book parody about Vice President Mike Pence's pet. All proceeds of the book were donated to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. The book was challenged but retained in Terrell, Texas in 2019. A library patron objected to the book on religious grounds, believing it was encouraging her 8-year-old granddaughter to accept a lifestyle that the Bible called "sinful." The book was also one of the LGBTQIA+ titles challenged in Orange City, Iowa. In 2020, a patron at the public library in Tahlequah, Oklahoma defaced the library's copy by writing on the cover, "Girl bunnies marry boy bunnies. This is the way it has always been because science."

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart: Challenged

Lily and Dunkin follows the friendship between eighth graders Jo McGrother, who is still dealing with coming out as transgender to her classmates, and Dunkin Dorfman, who is coping with bipolar disorder. Claiming that the book contained sexual content and instances of bullying, rebelling against the police, and refusing to take medications, parents requested that the book be removed from the children's section of the Andover Public Library in Kansas. After reviewing the title, the library decided to keep the book in the children's area. Parents appealed the decision, but the library board voted in favor of keeping the book in its original location.

Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola: Challenged and Banned

When Strega Nona leaves to visit a friend, she tells Big Anthony to continue his chores and not to touch her magic pot. He doesn't listen and proceeds to conjure an overflowing pot of pasta that threatens the whole town. Despite critical acclaim and multiple honors, Strega Nona has been challenged and banned multiple times in school libraries for depicting magic, witches, and witchcraft in a positive light. Other books with witches, warlocks, and supernatural worlds have been challenged too, including Ronald Dahl's The Witches, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time, and C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was the most challenged book of the last decade (2000-2009) for its depiction of a young, orphaned wizard and his magical world.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak: Challenged and Banned

This classic picture book about a young boy who sails to an island inhabited by the Wild Things and becomes king has been challenged and banned for reasons similar to Strega Nona. Critics argue that the book contains supernatural elements and witchcraft, and that the book is simply "too dark" for children. In 1969, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim said the book was "psychologically damaging for 3 and 4-year-olds" in Ladies Home Journal. The picture book was banned in several southern states after it's publication in the late 1960s for child abuse; the main character Max is sent to bed without supper by his mother. 

All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds: Challenged

A black kid in baggy clothing, a bag of potato chips, racial profiling, and a brutal police encounter; In this YA novel, Keily and Reynolds tell the story of one incident of police brutality from the perspectives of two high school classmates. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina's Fraternal Order of Police fought to have All American Boys removed from the Wando High School's list of optional reading assignments for "an indoctrination of distrust of police." The FOP chapter also challenged Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give. Both books were subject to the school district's reconsideration process, and both titles were retained.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: Challenged

In this YA novel, two misfit Nebraska teens with a love for mixed tapes and comic books discover the imperfections and the beauty of first-time love. Despite being an award winner, the book was pulled from the Yamhill Carlton School District in Oregon after parents complained about its profanity and use in a middle school classroom. The decision to remove the book was made without following proper policies, and the school board later apologized for it's hasty decision and kept the book.

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Notorious RBG



"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made... 
It shouldn't be that women are the exception."


"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."


"Reading is the key that opens doors to many good things in life. Reading shaped my dreams, and more reading helped me make my dreams come true."


I was sitting in the parking lot of a gas station waiting for my friend to buy a Mountain Dew and aimlessly scrolling through Facebook when I came across the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. I don’t know why the death of the notorious RBG feels so heavy and so much like the end of something special. It would be easy to say that her passing is just another crazy moment in a year that has been so topsy-turvy, twisted that it’s hard to know which way is up. Maybe the answer though, the hard-to-put-into-words, need-to-dig-down-deep answer, might have to do with what RBG represented for women around the world. Think of all the young girls wearing black robes and oversized glasses for Halloween. The “No Truth Without Ruth!” bumper stickers and pins. The workout routines that were inspired by her own physical activity as an octogenarian. The Tumblr started by a law student discussing RBG’s fiery dissents, not to mention the overwhelming amount of jewelry, shirts, and other accessories emblazoned with her bejeweled dissent collar. The reason her death feels like such a loss is because Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a real-life Hermione Granger. A Matilda Wormwood. A Jo March, Arya Stark, Katniss Everdeen, Elizabeth Bennett. These strong, passionate female characters from our favorite books are not afraid to voice their thoughts or embrace their intelligence. RBG wasn’t an awesome character on a page, however; she was a real-life role model that paved the way for so many, and she fearlessly dissented and defended the law so that all of us could live in a more just world. When a vibrant spark like RBG leaves our universe, it’s a tremendous loss. If you want to discover more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, from her six gender equality cases in front of the United States Supreme Court to her many collars and dissenting opinions as a Supreme Court Justice to her love of opera and books, please check out some of the materials below.


Becoming RBG by Debbie Levy

No Truth Without Ruth: The Life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Kathleen Krull

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Made Her Mark by Debbie Levy

Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Life and Work by Victoria Ortiz

Who is Ruth Bader Ginsburg? by Patricia Demuth

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Conversations with RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life, Love, Liberty, and Law by Jeffrey Rosen


Friday, September 11, 2020

Reading on the Rails & A Glimpse at Fall


All aboard! Get your ticket to ride the 1,000 Books train at the Library. That's right folks, we've made some exciting changes to our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. We're talking new prizes and activity ideas for your little ones, a swag bag for caregivers, the Beanstack app, and train cars in the Children's Department that will feature your young readers' names as they progress through the program. Check out the details below: 

What is 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten? 
The idea is simple: Read 1,000 books with your child before they enter kindergarten. Reading 1,000 books together may seem intimidating, but think of this: If you read just one book together each night, you will have read 365 books in one year. In two years, you will read 730. In three years, you will read 1,095 books! 

Research shows that the more children are read to, the larger their vocabularies become and the more prepared they are to begin school. Reading together also encourages children to recognize reading as an enjoyable, valuable experience, and to become lifelong readers. So take the time to share books and stories, sing songs, say nursery rhymes, engage in one on one play, and attend Library programs. You'll be reading 1,000 books before you know it, and creating memories moment by moment.


Who can participate? How does it work? 
Any child from birth until he or she enters kindergarten may participate in the program. New to the program is the Beanstack app! Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and create an account. Select the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge and register your child as the reader. Select books for your child and log your reading in the Beanstack app. Paper reading logs are still available at the Children's Desk. 

Count all books read to your child or by your child toward your total. Attending a storytime? Reading that Pete the Cat book over and over before bed? They all count! We would love to suggest books that meet your little one's age and interests so please ask us for suggestions. We're always adding new books to our collection too! As your child participates in the program, their name will be displayed on a special train ticket in the Children's Department, and will move from train car to train car with every 100 books they read.  


What are these prizes you're talking about? Did I hear swag bag? 
For every 100 books you read together, you will earn a badge in Beanstack and a prize at the Library. Prizes for your young readers include developmentally appropriate toys such as finger paint, bubbles, sensory balls, and storytime scarves, plus informational handouts full of activity ideas and early literacy tips. After reading 1,000 books together, you will receive a tote bag and a certificate of completion. Library staff will also snap a special photo of your child to share. 

At the end of every calendar year, parents who have completed the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program with their readers will be entered into a random drawing for swag bag. That's right, a prize just parents and caregivers. Our first drawing will be in just four months! Think you can read 1,000 books together before then? 



So what other exciting things are happening at the Library this fall? Read all about the upcoming fun here, and visit our Events Calendar to register. 


Dear Pen Pal: Experience the excitement of getting "Library mail" and making a new friend! Dear Pen Pal pairs children (up to 18) and seniors (60 or older) to exchange handwritten letters, cards, drawings, and more during the month of October. Registration runs September 14 through October 1. Fill out the registration form here so we can match you with a pen pal! 


Crafting Galore: On the second Tuesday of each month we will have Grab & Go Craft Kits available for children, teens, and adults. All kits contain the instructions and most supplies needed to make a beautiful creation centered around our monthly themes. September's theme is gardening and welcoming autumn, and October is all things spooky! September Grab & Go Kits will be available on September 15 starting at 4pm, and October Kits will be available on October 6 starting at 4pm while supplies last. In addition to these grab & go goodies, we will have different take-home craft kits in the Children's Department. Kits right now include the supplies and materials needed to make a whimsical garden chime. Get yours soon! They're going fast! 

Chalk the Walk: Calling all budding artists! We want you to decorate our sidewalk with your best chalk drawings. To ensure safe social distancing, we're asking that each family register for a one hour time slot and we'll assign sidewalk squares. Masks are still required for this outdoor program. We'll have chalk available or you can bring your own. Chalk the Walk time slots are available on October 5, 6, 8, and 9. 



Rainbow Readers: Spend some time with the amazing Miss Katie and explore techniques to prepare your child for reading. Miss Katie will break the process down into very simple activities you can do at home with minimal resources to ensure your child's reading success. This program is offered through Zoom on October 1, 8, 15, and 22. Please register with an email address to get the Zoom link!  

Homeschool Series, Art Appreciation: That's right, Miss Katie's Homeschool group is back in a virtual format, and boy oh boy does she have some messy, creative, and fun things planned! Explore famous artists, their quirks, their techniques, and their famous works of art. Art kits will be available to pick up so you can create your own masterpieces at home. This program is offered through Zoom on October 14, 21, and 28. Please register with an email address to get the Zoom link!

Wonder Book Club for All Ages: While COVID-19 may have changed the look of our Kindness Campaign, we still believe in human kindness and want to discuss Wonder by R.J. Palacio! Join us on Zoom for a lively and engaging discussion about Auggie Pullman and the struggles he endures as he tries to be seen as just another student. Copies of Wonder are available at the Library. Please register with an email address to get the Zoom link for the October 29 discussion!  

Gross Me Out Science Kits: Do you love all things slimy, stinky, gross and icky? Explore the science behind the yuck with our Gross Me Out Science Kits. Visit the Children's Department every week in October to pick up the materials and instructions needed to create a gross experiment. We want you to send pictures and videos of your experiments to gmplkids@gmail.com so we can combine them all into one yucky video at the end of the month! 

It's the Great Pumpkin Decorating Contest: We're transforming the Children's Department into a massive pumpkin patch. Starting October 12, visit us to grab a pumpkin. Then decorate your pumpkin as one of your favorite book characters or with a fall theme. Paint it, dress it, accessorize it with feathers and glitter, but please do not carve it! Return your decorated pumpkin to the Library no later than October 23. Pumpkins will be displayed throughout the Library for voting. The winner will receive an awesome fall swag bag. We're all about the swag bags this year. 

Storytime at Home: The mystery box returns with Miss Katie starting October 6! Sing songs and enjoy great stories in the comfort of your home every Tuesday morning. Please register with an email address to get the Zoom link. 

Trail Tale: Miss Maggie will be debuting a new story at Sheldon Woods very soon. It's one of my favorites involving an adorable bunny, a secret trip to the library, and chilly days. Take a trek to the park to find out! If you're participating in the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, don't forget to count it! 


We want to hear from you! We know things look a little different with the pandemic, but we still intend on providing you with the best resources. Do you have a virtual program you would like to see? A craft idea? Do you need help with homework or learning in the virtual classroom? Let us know at gmplkids@gmail.com or by giving the Library a call at 440-926-3317.



     

     

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Tale about the Trail Tale

     

    As I was out last Friday setting up the new book at Sheldon Woods, I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much the community treasures the Trail Tale.  Due to the pandemic and some structural damages to the pedestals, the story had not been replaced during the spring.  It had been missed.  Families were cheering when I arrived to change out the book.   Adults without children were thanking me for the impact the story trail has had on the community and for all the work we do at the library.  One group of young children was very intrigued by the mechanics of the physical replacement of the pages.  I soon had a small following joining me along the trail, reading as we went. 

    Many entities throughout the country have created their own type of progressive story along a path.  I have seen book pages posted along school walls, along drop off routes for summer camps, or even inside libraries.  Apparently the idea was thought up in 2007 by a disease prevention specialist in Vermont named Anne Ferguson. The idea was simple.  Take a picture book, cut it up, laminate each page, glue them to stakes, and set them out along a walking path.  Her goal was to encourage families to get moving.  Maybe children would race each other from post to post in an attempt to finish the book before their siblings.  Maybe the books would inspire some discussions about their surroundings and encourage them to walk further along the path.  In Ms. Ferguson's attempt to help the families in her community make healthier lifestyle choices, she set up the formula that many libraries have adopted - whether they know about her or the trademarked StoryWalk® she created. I, myself, had never heard of the program until I was at a library conference despite knowing several libraries and parks that had incorporated a similar project in their communities.
 
    The Trail Tale at Sheldon Woods is not part of the official StoryWalk® project, but its values are the same.  Our Trail Tale was initiated in 2017 by Eagle Scout Logen Denger.  His project was to create lasting and environmentally sustainable structures to showcase the storybook pages.   The Grafton-Midview Public Library, under the leadership of Director Adele Infante, and in partnership with Lorain County Metroparks ensured that Logan's vision to "provide an opportunity [for] growing families and children to get outside, practice their reading skills together and have fun while doing it" became a reality.
   
   As I drove back to the library just in time to serve our free summer lunch program provided by the Boys and Girls Club of Lorain, I thought about Anne Ferguson, Logan Denger, and other people in all kinds of professions who set out to make a difference in their communities    What a gift it is to see the positive and lasting impact the work we do at the library has on the community.  What a gift it is to be a part of it.

    Visit Sheldon Woods to see one of my favorite books.  It was the first book I read at a storytime almost 20 years ago.  It is a perfect one to act out in the woods and get your family moving.  If you are like me, you will turn it into a call back song complete with a dance.  Everything is better with a song and a dance. 
  

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Don't Throw Away Your Shot... at GMPL!



Just in time for this year's Fourth of July celebrations, Disney+ started streaming the critically acclaimed, smash hit Hamilton. Hamilton, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, made its Broadway debut in 2015 and follows the rise and fall of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War, led the Treasury Department under President Washington, and was one of the most prolific interpreters and supporters of the U.S. Constitution. In addition to a powerful soundtrack that draws heavily on rap and hip hop, the Broadway production casts diverse, non-white actors to break down the barriers between the audience and the historical figures of the past. We at GMPL love Hamilton, and yes, we may have been caught singing our favorite songs at the Children's Desk! Whether you need more to feed your Hamilton fix or you're just discovering the "10 dollar Founding Father" for the first time, we have you covered! Check out our Hamilton materials below!         

Learn the catchy lyrics for the first time, or continue the musical long after you've watched the production on Disney+ with the original cast's recording. 

by Ron Chernow 
Did you know that Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up Chernow's 800+ page biography of Hamilton for some light reading while on vacation? Read the book that inspired it all!  

Eliza: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton 
by Margaret McNamara 
We know all about the young, scrappy, and hungry Alexander Hamilton - but what about his wife? McNamara details how Eliza raised money for the Washington Monument, founded the first orphanage in New York State, and tirelessly preserved the legacy of her husband during the fifty years after his death. Additional goodies include Phillipa Soo's afterward, websites to explore, and a clear timeline of events.  

by L.M. Elliott 
Angelica Schuyler is wickedly smart and passionate. Her sister Eliza is generous and sweet. And then there's Peggy. "And Peggy" is finally in the spotlight in this YA novel. When Alexander Hamilton writes to Peggy Schuyler asking for help in wooing over her sister Eliza, a friendship quickly blossoms between the two. Her new friendship and her increasing involvement in the Revolutionary War finally allows Peggy grow into formidable young woman in her own right.  

by Pam Pollack
The popular biography series for kids tells the story of how an orphaned Hamilton made his way to the American colonies, studied law, served as an aid to George to Washington during the Revolutionary War and later in his presidential cabinet, designed our current financial system, and more! 

by David A. Adler
A great biography for first and second graders, Adler discusses the highlights of Alexander Hamilton's life, such as his involvement in the American Revolution, his time as the Secretary of the Treasury, and his tragic death from a duel with Aaron Burr. 

by Ellis Roxburgh
As the first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton handled the fragile finances of the U.S. and designed much of our current financial system. Aaron Burr became the third Vice President of the U.S. in 1800. How did these two prominent men find themselves in a duel that ended the political career of Burr and the life of Hamilton? Roxburgh explains all the incidents that led up the deadly conflict between Hamilton and Burr.