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Monday, September 30, 2013

International Translation Day

Today is the Feast of St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators. It's also the International Translation Day! Today we celebrate by looking at some of our favorite translated works.

    

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, translated from the German by Anthea Bell. The women in Gwen's family are time-travelers, but it skips some people, including Gwen. It's her cousin Charlotte who's been training, so imagine Gwen's surprise when she's the one yanked into the past. The third book in this very popular series, Emerald Green comes out next week.

Nothing by Janne Teller, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken. When Pierre Anthon declares that life has no meaning and walks out of class, his friends and classmates fear that he's right. Unwilling to contemplate the idea that their lives don't matter, they set out to prove him wrong, but their search for meaning quickly turns dark and violent, and in the end, will it be enough to quiet Pierre's ringing words?

No and Me by Delphine de Vigan, translated from the French by George Miller. When Lou befriends the homeless No as part of a class project, everything changes. No moves in and helps heal Lou's family, but it'll take more than Lou to help heal No, if that's even possible.

    

A Time of Miracles by Anne-Marie Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet. Koumail knows that his real name is Blaise Fortune. He is a French citizen. As a baby, he was rescued from a train wreck by Gloria. Since the age of 7, they have been on the run from the rebels, from the war. He doesn't understand the war and everytime he asks, Gloria tells him that it's useless to try to understand the Caucasus. It's not the concern of a French citizen.

The Storyteller by Antonia Michaelis, translated from the German by Miriam Debbage. Good girl Anna falls for bad boy Abel, a boy trying to care for his little sister, who spins her a fairy tale based in their reality. But Anna begins to worry when Abel's enemies start turning up dead.

Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, translated from the Japanese by Yuji Oniki. In not-too-distant futuristic Japan, every year a junior high school class is sent to an island where the children must fight to the death. This book follows one class, all 42 of them, as their numbers dwindle. Many people accuse the Hunger Games of being a Battle Royale knock-off, but despite a similar premise, the two books are very different. This one's definitely for older readers who can handle a good deal of on-page violence.

    

Emil and Karl by Yankev Glatshteyn, translated from the Yiddish by Jeffrey Shandler. This is one of the first books about the Holocaust ever written, published in 1940 to let Jewish-American kids know what was happening in Europe. In 2006, it became available in English for the first time. Vienna in the late 1930s. Karl's father is long dead his mother has just been taken. He runs to his best friend, Emil's house. Emil's Jewish-- they haven't seen each other lately. Emil's father was taken away by the men, too. Emil and Karl are orphans in a city gone mad, where no one knows who they can trust or what's going to happen next. Most books about the Holocaust are about the tension, the waiting, the hardships. This is a horrific madhouse hallucination of a city turned on its head. It takes the same confusion and horror, but tells it in a way I've never read before in a holocaust story. This is aimed at a younger audience, but the mind-boggling horror and impact is saved for an older reader who knows the history. The author doesn't know what will happen next, how bad it's going to get, but the reader does.

Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faiza Gruene, translated from the French by Sarah Adams. Doria is a French teenager of Moroccan descent living in Paradise Gardens-- a Parisian suburban ghetto. Sick of school, sick of the stream of social workers coming to the house, sick of her gossip-y neighbors, Doria's main outlook on life is "kif kif tomorrow" which she translates as "same old shit tomorrow".

Deogratias, A Tale of Rwanda by JP Stassen, translated by Alexi Siegel. Deogratias is a boy who knows two hot sisters, so when the older rejects him, he'll go for the younger. Just a teenage boy, trying to get some action, like teenage boys everywhere. But that was then, before. This is now, after. This is less a tale of what happened then, but more what happens now, to the survivors, to the guilty, to the multitudes of guilty. To those guilty of crimes. To those guilty of surviving when those he cared most about didn't. An introductory note to this slim and powerful graphic novel gives important context to the story.

What are your favorite works in translation?

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

    

Anthem for Jackson Dawes by Celia Bryce. Megan hates having cancer, and hates having to be on the pediactric ward with the little kids. The only other teen is annoying and arrogant Jackson, but he's the only one who understands what she's going through. But the cancer ward isn't the most promising place to find love.

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie. Twice, Dani should have died. Twice, she walked away. Dani's sure she has nine lives. But now her twin sister has cancer. Can Dani give her one of her lives?

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork. Pancho is trying to find the guy who killed his sister, so he can murder him. But then he meets DQ, who has brain cancer and is just trying to live his last days on his own terms.

    

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Greg isn't pleased when his mom makes him hang out with Rachel, a girl with leukemia. He and Earl just like to hang out and make movies. When Rachel decides to stop treatment, they have one last movie to make.

Before I Die by Jenny Downham. We're all going to die, but for Tessa Scott, it's going to happen sooner rather than later. She has cancer and has only a few months left. Before she dies, she has a list of the things she wants to accomplish. Travel. Fame. Love. And because she'll never see her seventeenth birthday, Sex. Drugs. A little law-breaking. A day where she has to says "yes" to everything. A day of living before her body fails her for good.

Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt. Mia's always checking her horoscope and looking for a sign about life decisions. When she gets cancer (and decides to keep it a secret from everyone) she becomes even more obsessed with the stars and other superstitions, this time, the sign she's looking for is one that will tell her if she'll survive.

    

Stravaganza City of Masks by Mary Hoffman. By day, Lucien is in bed, sick with cancer. By night, he goes to Belleza, an alternate historical Venice. There, he discovers a plot against the ruling family, but saving Duchessa may mean not being able to return to his real life, but will he want to, if he's just going to die?

Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon. Richard's family and doctors are doing everything they can to keep him alive as long as possible, but he's in hospice and his days are numbered and he's determined to live them on his own terms.

The Look by Sophia Bennett. Ted's modeling career is starting to take off--right when her sister Ava's cancer treatment starts kicking into high gear. Ava is excited for Ted and encourages her career, but Ted feels like she's missing what's really important.

We also looked at childhood cancer in June. What books are missing from our lists?

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Banned Books Week Day 7

A few years ago, a kid came into my library and was horrified at my banned books display. How could we ban a book?! His father was Irish and laughed. "Ah Son, let me tell you how we used to ban books when I was a lad! When it comes to banning books, America doesn't know what it's doing."

And it's true. When other countries ban a book, reading or owning the book is illegal. You don't need to smuggle certain titles into the US, like you do in many other countries. When a book is banned in the US, it's still available from other sources.

So, yeah, here in the US, we don't really ban books. We do like restricting access (or trying to.) And I'm sure that many people who like to properly ban a book. We do probably need a new vocabulary, but we also need greater outrage.

Banned Books Week serves to draw attention to the fact that people do want to ban books. They want to tell you what's right for your child, because they know better than you do. It also celebrates that we don't properly ban books, because that's not what America is about. You can try, but we will fight back.

One way we fight back is by drawing attention to the books that people want swept under the rug. Pick it up, read it, and make the plans of these haters totally back fire.

Today books are a few of the Top 100 Banned/Challenged books in 2000-2009.

    

The Giver by Lois Lowry. When jobs are handed out, Jonas is apprenticed to The Giver. In their perfect society, it's the Giver's job to remember what life was like before. The Giver is the only one who knows pain, but he's also the only one who can see colors or know joy. In addition to the memories, Jonas is given the truth behind what makes their society work

Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan. Mr. Griffin is strict and mean, and a group of students plan a prank to teach him a lesson. It's just a prank, but when accidents happen and bodies start piling up, Susan realizes that one of her friends is a killer.

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney. One day at lunch, Janie's looking at the missing child on the back of her milk carton and is shocked to recognize herself. Her proper, slightly uptight parents can't really be kidnappers, can they? But what about these flashes of memory from a different type of life? Who is Janie Johnson?

    

Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison. While Georgia is mainly preoccupied with her love life, readers will fall in love with her insane cat, mad toddler sister, crazy parents, and the Bison dancing of the Ace Gang.

Blubber by Judy Blume. The class teases Linda because she's fat. Jill goes along with it because... well, why not. But Linda won't be the only victim, and how far will the class goes before it stops?

Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. At first glance, Jason, Kyle, and Nelson have nothing in common. But all three are gay, even if they aren't all out.

    

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey. When McMurphy is admitted, the mental ward will never be the same, but Nurse Ratchett runs a tight ship-- one that won't tolerate McMurphy's rebellion.

When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester. Jeremy and Jenna struggle with the aftermath of what happens when their father murders their mother. With one parent dead and the other in jail, they must try to make a new family and deal with the truth about what happened, and why.

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going. Troy is about to step off the subway platform in front of an oncoming train when Curt stops him. Curt is everything Troy isn't-- Curt is painfully skinny, Troy is morbidly obese, Curt is cool, Troy is a loser... but for some reason, even though Troy hasn't played drums in years, Curt asks him to drum for his band. Both boys have their issues, but they also have the music.

What are your favorite banned books?

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Banned Books Week Day Six

Today we continue our Banned Books Week coverage. Banned Books Week is a time to highlight the number of books that people try to remove from the shelves of classrooms and school and public libraries, and to celebrate how often these efforts fail. All week we'll be looking at what books people think you shouldn't be reading.

Today's books are just a few of the ones that were challenged or banned in 2011 and 2012.

    

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Right before the start of high school, there was a party. At the party something happened, so Melinda called the cops. Because she called the cops, no one will talk to her. Because no one will talk, no one will listen, so Melinda stops talking, too. Was unsuccessfully challenged in Republic, MO because it "glorifies drinking, cursing, and premarital sex,” and “teaches principles contrary to the Bible.”

Betrayed by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. In this second installment of the House of Night series, Zoey and the House of Night are suspects in a a rash of teenage murders. Challenged in Fairbanks, AK high school libraries because “It simply causes kids to think even more of things sexual.

A Study in Scarlet by Sir Conan Doyle. This is Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson's first appearance. It was removed from required reading lists in Albermarle County, Va. for anti-Mormon content.

    

Hold Still by Nina LaCour. When Ingrid killed herself, she left her journal behind for Caitlin. Caitlin is still reeling from her best friend's death, but with the journal she may find her way to hope. Challenged in Blue Springs, MO school libraries and classrooms for obscene language.

Tangled by Carolyn Mackler. Four teens meet in the Caribbean resort, Paradise where there lives become entwined, which causes complications when they return back home. It was banned in Borger, TX school libraries for sexual content and language.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler. Frankie plans for she and Anna to have the perfect summer fling by meeting a new boy every day to find the perfect one. Only, Anna's already had a perfect summer fling-- with Frankie's older brother, right before he died. Temporarily removed from Republic, MO high school for “sexual promiscuity, questionable language, drunkenness, lying to parents, and a lack of remorse by the characters.” When it was reinstated, access was restricted to parents-only.

    

Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag. Several major comic book artists contribute tales of middle school angst, woe, and humiliation. Challenged in middle school libraries in three towns for “objectionable sexual and language references.” It was retained, but requires parental permission to check out.

Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff. A parallel memoir to Beautiful Boy, this is Nic's side of the story of his addiction and struggles to become, and remain, clean and sober. Taken off the required summer reading list for middle and high school students in Williamstown, NJ because of homosexual content and drug use.

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Billy Pilgrim is unstuck in time--something that happens after getting abducted by aliens. Despite the crazy premise, this is actually a rather autobiographical dark story that focuses largely on his time as POW in Dresden during the firebombing. Temporarily removed from school libraries in Republic, MO for teaching principles contrary to the Bible. When it was reinstated, access was restricted to parents-only.

What are your favorite banned books?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week Day 5

Today we continue our Banned Books Week coverage. Banned Books Week is a time to highlight the number of books that people try to remove from the shelves of classrooms and school and public libraries, and to celebrate how often these efforts fail. All week we'll be looking at what books people think you shouldn't be reading.

Today's books are just a few of the ones that were challenged or banned in 2012 and 2013.

    

Feed by M. T. Anderson. This book has one of the best first lines in fiction--"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." In this future world, everyone has a brain chip that allows you to surf the web and message your friends. Banner ads tell you what to think, do, but most importantly, buy. But when someone hacks into the Feed and turns it off, a population that's never thought for itself has no idea what to do. Challenged in Green County, VA, because the book is “trash” and “covered with the F-word.”

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender is a video game whiz, and is sent to a prestigious military academy to play war simulation games. Ender's a star student, but life at school is lonely, and hard. After a teacher read parts out loud, a student and parent called it porn. The teacher at Schofield Middle School in Aiken, SC did not face charges.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti. Sarah is looking for true love in her final year in high school and thinks she might have found it with popular Dave. Tobey wants a deeper relationship than the ones he's had and has his eyes on Sarah. When they're paired up in music class, they might just find what they're looking for. Unsuccessfully challenged at the Helen Matthes Library in Effingham, IL for being too explicit.

    

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. Carter is starting high school and like many high school boys, his thoughts are filled with girls, girls, and girls. It's made worse by his ADD. And, of course, once he gets a girl, he quickly screws it up. Unsuccessfully challenged at Broken Arrow, OK middle school libraries for being "vulgar, vulgar, vulgar."

Totally Joe by James Howe. Joe has to write an alphabiography (something about himself for every letter of the alphabet). This shows us a school year in which the 12-year-old has to deal with his sexuality. He's always known he's gay, but suddenly, it's a thing, except for most of the people in his life, it really isn't a big deal. It was marked for removal in the Davis, UT school district because parents might find it objectionable.

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow. Lydia and Julie want to be popular when they start junior high, so they decide to do some research now-- by observing the popular girls at their school, they'll learn their secret, right? Of course, it all goes hilariously wrong. Check-out was restricted to 5th-graders only at Prossar, WA elementary school libraries because Lydia only has a mother and Julie has two dads.

    

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci. When a bullied boy disappears, did he run away, commit suicide, or was he murdered? When another outcast is blamed for the murder, Torey (one of Chris Creed's tormentors), the suspect, and his girlfriend (and Torey's childhood friend) try to find the truth about what happened. Unsuccessfully challenged in Appleton, WI schools (of which I am a sometimes proud graduate) for references to suicide and sex.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic novel autobiography follows Satrapi's childhood in Tehran after the overthrow to the Shah, her schooling in Europe, her return to Iran, and her eventual emigration. Temporarily pulled from all Chicago public schools for "graphic illustrations and language." It was only reinstated after massive student-led protests.

Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare. This is Shakespeare's text side-by-side with a modern-day translation. This was challenged in Libery, SC middle school classrooms because of sexual content.

What are your favorite banned books?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Banned Books Week Day Four

Today we continue our Banned Books Week coverage. Banned Books Week is a time to highlight the number of books that people try to remove from the shelves of classrooms and school and public libraries, and to celebrate how often these efforts fail. All week we'll be looking at what books people think you shouldn't be reading.

    

Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Various coaches are always on TJ to use his full potential to help bring glory to the school and join a team, but TJ's having none of it. Then, he decides to form a swim team, which gives all the misfits he can find a chance to earn their own letter jacket and stick it to the system that's been making their school lives hell. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2005 for racism, offensive language.

Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds. Emmy has dreams of enjoying high school and going to college, but then she starts dating a popular older boy, has sex, and gets pregnant. Can she still continue her higher education when a child? This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2005 for sexual content.

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. Richie Perry can't afford college. He's stuck in Harlem with few prospects, so he enlists and goes off the Vietnam. There are the basics of a war story-- fear, fighting, death, trying to make sense of it all, trying to stay alive. But there's more to this one-- Perry and most of his unit enlisted for their own reasons, which goes against the standard Vietnam story we tell of draftees. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2004, 2003, and 2001 for offensive language, racism, violence.

    

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling. When Harry turns 11, he discovers he is a wizard and escapes his horrible aunt and uncle to go to Hogwarts. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003, 2002, and 2001 for occult/Satanism.

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous/ Beatrice Sparks. Purported to be the diary of an anonymous teen who spirals becomes addicted to drugs and quickly spirals out of control. It's fiction, and rather didactic on the evils of drugs, but still a favorite of teens. It was among the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003 and 2001 for drugs.

We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier. Told in multiple voices, this details what happens when a group of vandals trash a house, and assault a girl who came home early, and what is done by The Avenger-- the guy who saw it all. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003 for offensive language, sexual content.

    

Taming the Star Runner by SE Hinton. Travis just got out of juvie and is living on his uncle's horse ranch. He tries to fit in at school and keep his head down and avoid going back to juvie. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2002 for offensive language.

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. Patty is Jewish and is conflicted when she befriends a Nazi who has escaped from the WWII POW camp in her small Arkansas town. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2001 for offensive language, racism, sexually explicit.

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Vivian's a werewolf and her pack has recently relocated to a new town. There, she meets Aiden, a normal mortal boy. Can she ever be herself with him? Can she ever be normal? What is normal for a teen werewolf? This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2001 for being sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.

What are your favorite banned books?

Links to Amazon are an affiliate link. You can help support YA Reading List by purchasing any item (not just the one linked to!) through these links.