Coming-of-Age Fiction

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
The "Our Freedom to Read" series examines books that have been banned or challenged by members of the public. This volume focuses on books exploring a prominent theme in novels for young adults, coming-of-age. Eighteen controversial books published during the forty years between 1963 and 2003 are analyzed. Otfinoski presents a summary of each plot, examples of challenges and their outcomes, and a brief biography of each author. While one might be surprised at public outcry over classics like Julie of the Wolves and My Brother Sam is Dead, other books dealing with sex, violence, profanity, homosexuality, and racism are more obvious candidates. For example, Judy Blume's Forever deals with sexual relations between two high-school seniors, while A. M. Holmes's Jack includes a gay father and domestic violence in a friend's family. Robert Cormier's use of profanity, sexual content, murder, and suicide in We All Fall Down has attracted frequent challenges, as has Gordon Parks' The Learning Tree. All are by writers who sincerely wish to address the concerns of teen readers in an honest and realistic manner; many have won top awards and loyal readers. From the case histories provided, it appears that most attempts to remove books from schools have been vigorously opposed and have ended in failure, although many titles have been judged inappropriate for middle readers. Four useful appendices (i.e., ALA's 100 most challenged books of 1990—2000, ten most frequently challenged books of both 2006 and 2007, websites about book censorship) offer further sources for investigating this important issue. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
VOYA - Jan Chapman
Censorship challenges to books continue to be a serious intellectual freedom issue for librarians in both public and school libraries. The purpose of this new series is to provide information on frequently challenged young adult books by describing the origin of the challenge(s), offering a brief description of both the book and author, and most important, detailing the response to the challenge. The series of four books is divided by genre and also includes Science Fiction and Fantasy and Classics. Each book features a short introduction to the genre and information on challenges and censorship. At the end of each chapter, there is a list of further reading and the books also offer an index and appendixes that provide additional information on censorship and challenges. Coming-of-Age Fiction, a genre that by its very nature is often controversial, covers frequently disputed titles such as Forever by Judy Blume and Katherine Paterson's The Great Gilly Hopkins. According to American Library Association (ALA) statistics, school libraries receive the greatest number of challenges and it is inspirational to read about school librarian Liz Wilson who, despite the risk of losing her job, successfully defended Paterson's book to a local school board. Combining this series with ALA's Banned Books Week Resource Guides would provide an excellent base for a teaching unit on censorship and book challenges. Although the series is not comprehensive, it does supply in-depth information on many frequently challenged titles. Reviewer: Jan Chapman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781604130300
  • Publisher: Chelsea House Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/1/2009
  • Series: Freedom to Read Series
  • Pages: 144
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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