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Outsider Fiction

Outsider Fiction

by Steven Otfinoski

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
As long as there are books, there will be individuals and groups who take offense and attempt to restrict availability. Chelsea House's new "Our Freedom to Read" series presents censorship cases that pertain to young adult literature. This volume examines challenged books in the science fiction and fantasy genre. With the exception of a few titles—Brave New World (Huxley), Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury), Cujo (King)—the books chronicled here can be found in the children's department of most public and elementary school libraries. They range from the innocuous Halloween ABC (Merriam) to classics such as A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle), James and the Giant Peach (Dahl), The Giver (Lowry), and the books in the ever-popular Harry Potter series (Rowling). Each entry includes a comprehensive plot summary followed by details about several challenges and their results, as well as a list of further reading selections for those who wish to seek more information and a brief biography of each book's author. In many cases, those who spoke against the censorship of the title are identified and championed. The rank of each book on ALA's "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" list is given. Also includes lists of the most challenged books and reasons for challenge from 1990-2000, 2006, and 2007. Students and those who are called upon to defend our freedom to read will find valuable information within these pages. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
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. Outsider Fiction is devoted to twenty titles, including Robert Cormier's I Am the Cheese and The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. Some of the challenges described are familiar complaints about language or sexuality, but others are a bit more complicated. The book Baseball Saved Us, by Ken Mochizuki was challenged because the author, a Japanese American, used the term "Jap," which a parent considered a racial slur. 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
Children's Literature - Pat Trattles
Although no one likes to be accused of censorship, each year schools and libraries from across the nation will receive complaints from parents asking that certain books be removed from required reading lists or library shelves because of something in the book which they deem objectionable or inappropriate for their children. The American Library Association releases an annual list of the 100 most frequently challenged books for that year, and celebrates Banned Book Week each fall highlighting the wealth of high quality fiction which would be missed if these challenges were allowed to stand. Part of the "Our Freedom to Read" series from Chelsea House Publishers, this title deals with twenty popular young adult titles which have been banned or challenged in one form or another over the years. Each chapter deals with a different book, providing a short summary of the story before discussing the reasons the book was challenged. Each chapter also contains a list of sources for further reading regarding the attempts to ban that particular book, and a short author biography. While all the books discussed deal with young adult issues of not fitting in because of race, class, appearance or a myriad of other issues, it will appeal more to the adult reader. It is a great tool for the high school English teacher to use in formulating classroom curriculum and discussion questions. Reviewer: Pat Trattles
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up–Thorough examinations of banned or challenged books. Each work features an introductory chapter explaining the type of literature included and the importance of intellectual freedom. Specific books such as the Bible, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series, and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird (in Classic Books) and the anonymous Go Ask Alice, Walter Dean Myers’s Fallen Angels, and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower (in Outsider Fiction) are then discussed in a chapter each. Otfinoski starts by outlining the basic plot and continues with critical reaction and details of controversies. Further reading on each title provides more background on the book and the challenges, and five appendixes per volume include ALA’s “Most Frequently Challenged” lists and information on Banned Books Week. While Outsider Fiction covers more works, the coverage is less in-depth than that in Classic Books. Both cover a broad range of literature, however, featuring many commonly assigned books. The writing is clear and the author provides both sides of the debate on the titles, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions. Solid information for report writers and teachers.–Melissa Rabey, Frederick County Public Libraries, Frederick, MD

Product Details

Chelsea House Publishers
Publication date:
Freedom to Read Series
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

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