A Small Civil War

Overview

A Small Civil War examines book censorship through the eyes of two sisters growing up in much the same direction although on often comically divergent paths. Georgia Van Buren at 13 knows where she stands on any given issue, even those she knows next to nothing about. Her more deliberate sister needs time to examine, study and decide in this tale of censorship and division.

When thirteen-year-old Georgia joins a crusade to fight the proposed banning of "The Grapes of...

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Overview

A Small Civil War examines book censorship through the eyes of two sisters growing up in much the same direction although on often comically divergent paths. Georgia Van Buren at 13 knows where she stands on any given issue, even those she knows next to nothing about. Her more deliberate sister needs time to examine, study and decide in this tale of censorship and division.

When thirteen-year-old Georgia joins a crusade to fight the proposed banning of "The Grapes of Wrath" from her school system, she is shocked when other members of her family do not share her passion for the cause.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-"A Small Civil War" erupts in the town of Owanka, IA, when Mr. Fairchild Brady, chairman of the city council, instructs Stanley Sopwith, "a founding father of the local New Right," to report to the council on whether The Grapes of Wrath should be removed from the 10th-grade curriculum at Owanka High School. Thirteen-year-old Georgia Van Buren, mature beyond her years, becomes irate over the issue and leads a personal battle to make the public aware of this threat to the First Amendment rights of her fellow students. As an eighth grader, Georgia hasn't read the book, but she worries about what other titles will come under attack if these men win their fight. During the battle, the high-school librarian is forced to resign, families are split over the issue, and friendships are shattered. Originally published in 1981 under the same title, this revision has a different point of view, but the quality of the book hasn't been improved. The characters are still unbelievable, often expounding on ideas with dialogue that is fake and unconvincing. Even the little romance that develops between Georgia and 16-year-old Con Arrand is manipulated to lure teen readers into the story. While Georgia loses her battle, there is never any doubt which side Neufeld is supporting. Like Richard Peck's The Last Safe Place on Earth Delacorte, 1995, Kathryn Lasky's Memoirs of a Bookbat Harcourt, 1994, Julian Thompson's The Trials of Molly Sheldon Holt, 1995, and Nat Hentoff's The Day They Came to Arrest the Book Dell, 1983, Neufeld's plot is constructed to drive home a message about freedom of speech. While the conflict in each of these novels is timely, Hentoff still offers the most intriguing and believable story.-Pat Scales, Greenville Middle School, SC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780449700235
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/12/1982
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 192

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