Ban This Book
by Gratz, Alan

A fourth grader fights back when From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg is challenged by a well-meaning parent and taken off the shelves of her school library. Amy Anne is shy and soft-spoken, but don't mess with her when it comes to her favorite book in the whole world. Amy Anne and her lieutenants wage a battle for the books as they start a secret banned books locker library, make up ridiculous reasons to ban every single book in the library to make a point, and take astand against censorship.

ALAN GRATZ is the author of many critically-acclaimed books for children and teens, including Samurai Shortstop, an ALA Top Ten Books for Young Adults; Prisoner B-3087; The Brooklyn Nine; Refugee; and the League of Seven trilogy (The League of Seven, The Dragon Lantern, The Monster War). A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Alan is now a full-time writer living in western North Carolina with his wife and daughter.

For biracial fourth-grader Amy Anne Ollinger, the school library is a quiet respite from her boisterous house, with two little siblings who often take center stage. But when her favorite book, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, disappears because a classmate's mom thought it was inappropriate, she takes action by running a banned-book library out of her locker. As the stakes escalate, so does Amy's risk-taking, deepening bonds with her classmates as they fight against censorship. She even gets suspended. A school assignment about the Bill of Rights provides additional context for their efforts. While in less capable hands, the story could become didactic, here it is deeply entwined with Amy's growth, from shy and reserved to speaking up for herself on a large stage. Quick paced and with clear, easy-to-read prose, this is a book poised for wide readership and classroom use. As Amy's school librarian Mrs. Jones says, "Well-behaved women seldom make history." An inspiring story about "good trouble" that's worth the consequences. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

A shy fourth-grader leads the revolt when censors decimate her North Carolina school's library. In a tale that is dominated but not overwhelmed by its agenda, Gratz takes Amy Anne, a young black bibliophile, from the devastating discovery that her beloved From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has been removed from the library at the behest of Mrs. Spencer, a despised classmate's mom, to a qualified defense of intellectual freedom at a school board meeting: "Nobody has the right to tell you what books you can and can't read except your parents." Meanwhile, as more books vanish, Amy Anne sets up a secret lending library of banned titles in her locker—a ploy that eventually gets her briefly suspended by the same unsympathetic principal who fires the school's doctorate-holding white librarian for defiantly inviting Dav Pilkey in for an author visit. Characters frequently serve as mouthpieces for either side, sometimes deadly serious and other times tongue-in- cheek ("I don't know about you guys, but ever since I read Wait Till Helen Comes, I've been thinking about worshipping Satan"). Indeed, Amy Anne's narrative is positively laced with real titles that have been banned or challenged and further enticing teasers for them. Contrived at some points, polemic at others, but a stout defense of the right to read. (discussion guide) (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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