Ban This Book

by Alan Gratz (2017)

We all know that student who loves books — really, really loves books. Amy Anne Ollinger is just that student. Her favorite place in the whole world is her school library, and her favorite book in the whole world is From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. You can imagine her shock when this book-loving girl finds out that her favorite book has been banned from the school library.

Well, you don’t have to imagine how she feels because Alan Gratz does a remarkable job of showing you. Told in first person, readers go on this journey with Amy Anne from right inside her head. And, her head is filled with thoughts, emotions, fears, insecurities, growing confidence, and wonderful language. “I felt like the carpet under my feet was turning into quicksand, and I was sinking fast.” That’s exactly how she felt.

If you are looking for a book where the kids are perfectly obedient to all of the adults in their world, this isn’t the book for you. But, if you are looking for a novel that empowers students to stretch themselves beyond their limits and to take on big issues, then you have found it.

This book will give students, teachers, and families plenty to think about and discuss. There is the obvious topic of book banning and who gets to decide what children get to read. But, there are other themes in this richly-layered book like standing up for a cause you believe in, staying loyal to your friends, and making your place in a family.

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