I just finished Ban This Book by Alan Gratz, and I have to say, “Wow!!”. This book is a must-read for any book lover or librarian.
Amy Anne Ollinger is a quiet, bookish 4th grade student who never stands up for herself until the day she goes to her school library to check out her favorite book in the whole wide world, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and finds out it has been banned, not by following the proper procedures already set in place, but by one parent with a lot of influence over the school board.
When appeals to the school board don’t work, Amy Anne takes matters into her own hands by starting her own lending library in her locker (the B.B.L.L., or Banned Books Locker Library). The B.B.L.L. becomes a school-wide sensation, with students eagerly checking out and devouring all the books they have been denied (Banning a book is a great way to get a kid interested in reading it!!).
Eventually, the B.B.L.L. is exposed and ended, and Amy Anne must find a better way to appeal the decision to ban books. I loved seeing her find her voice and the strength to stand up for herself.
A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
“It’s our job as educators to expose our children to as many different kinds of books and as many different points of view as possible. That means letting them read books that are too easy for them, or too hard for them. That means letting them read books that challenge them, or do nothing but entertain them. And yes, it means letting students read books with things in them we might disagree with and letting them make up their own minds about things, which is downright scary sometimes. But that’s what good education is all about.”
“I was lucky. My parents would buy me any book I wanted if I asked them to. But not everybody’s parents would do that. Not everybody’s parents could do that. That’s what libraries were for: to make sure that everybody had the same access to the same books everyone else did.”