Banned Books Week

What do John Steinbeck, Maya Angelou, Harry Potter, J. D. Salinger and Captain Underpants have in common?  They are authors of or characters in “banned” books!

Every year, libraries receive hundreds of requests to remove certain books or materials from their shelves.  Individuals and groups challenge a book’s suitability for a library’s collection because of objectionable or inappropriate material or content.  The most recent and visible example of this is a metro-Atlanta parent’s attempt to remove the Harry Potter series from school library shelves because of the belief that the books promote witchcraft to children.

Banned Books Week emphasizes and celebrates the readers’ right to choose, access and read any book they want.  People challenge books with the best of intentions, and libraries take these challenges seriously.  But part of the mission of most libraries is to uphold the right of individuals to have access to books and materials of varying viewpoints and ways of expression, as well as the authors’ right to free speech and expression.  Upholding these rights often conflict with the convictions and interests of the challenger, resulting in heated struggles like the Harry Potter incident. (Click here to see the outcome of the incident)

Banned Books Week also celebrates books that were or are challenged or truly banned because of their unorthodox or controversial content or theme.  Titles range from silly stories, such as the Captain Underpants series, to those by revered authors, like Steinbeck and Angelou, to classics like Salinger’s A Catcher in the Rye and even The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  Children’s and Young Adult books are most often challenged because of content deemed unsuitable for children.  Of the ten titles on the American Library Association’s 2006 List of Most Challeged Books, eight are Children’s or Young Adult titles.

Banned Books Week runs from September 29 to October 6 this year.  Check the websites below for more information, and for lists of challenged book titles.  Then exercise your right to choose and read!

American Library Association Banned Books Week

Lists of challenged books and authors

Quotations about banning books and reading

Amnesty International’s Banned Books Week page, concerning individuals who are persecuted because of their writings.

Books A to Z Banned Books and Censorship page


Sources for this article:

 ““And Tango Makes Three” tops ALA’s 2006 list of most challenged books.” American Library Association. 2007. (Accessed 24 Sep, 2007)

Banned Books Week.” American Library Association. 2006. (Accessed 24 Sep, 2007)

Hutchins, Laura L. Banned Book Week: What is Banned Book Week all about? Bainbridge, GA: Decatur County Gilbert H. Gragg Library, 2007.

Hutchins, Laura L. Banned Books: Top 10 most challenged books of 2006. Bainbridge, GA: Decatur County Gilbert H. Gragg Library, 2007.

Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You

book cover

‘I’d tell you I love you, but then I’d have to kill you’

Thirteen little words that totally grabbed my attention, and the ransom note letters for’love’ and ‘kill’  grabbed me too. Yeah, yeah, I’m bad-I’m one of those people that look at a title and the cover and reads based on that. It’s a bad habit. Well, I guess I should say I’m more INFLUENCED by titles and covers.

So, I decided to read this book a couple weeks ago-plus I’m a HUGE Alias fan and this book is about a spy in training. Cammie is a second-generation Gallagher Girl (oh yeah-Gallagher Academy is the all-girl spy school she attends) .  The girls at this school are all really smart, some geniuses. What other school teaches girls advanced martial arts, chemical warfare, and gives extra credit for breaking CIA codes? Where you are fluent in fourteen languages, and know how to kill a man in seven different ways? Well Gallagher Academy of course!

One thing Cammie was not prepared for? Falling for a guy who thinks she is a normal girl. How do you deal with a guy that thinks you are just an average girl, but instead you’re really a spy born from spy parents? Well, Cammie is about to find out-with the help of her friends.

I had fun reading this book. The characters were easy to like, it was easy to sink in to, it kept me going to find out what was gonna happen next. And come on-how many teachers do you know know that would teach you how to kill a man with a piece of uncooked spaghetti, part of your class is to tail another teacher at a place you really shouldn’t be at? Yeah…lots of fun.

OH! And another cool thing about the book is that it reads just like a movie. And squeee!Looking at the author’s website it has infact been ‘optioned’ for a  movie-which more or less means it is in the works. No definite “yes,” no definite “no,” just a “possibly?”…We’ll just have to keep our fingers crossed. Eh, just go here to actually read it for yourself!

Okay! Moral of this post?
Don’t judge a book by its cover!

Also: go read I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You for yourself! Then we can patiently impatiently wait for the sequel together!


Till next time-keep flipping those pages!


Published in: on September 27, 2007 at 3:00 pm  Comments (2)  

Less is More: The Best of Atlanta Shorts


Short films are to filmmaking what short stories are to literature.  “Shorts,” as they are often called, are films that tell a story in a small amount of time.  This approach is a great challenge to the screenwriter and the director, who must create a film with maximum impact by the most economic means possible.  Filmmakers often restrict themselves to a single, simple story line and a minimum of actors and locations:  The opposite of what you see in feature films.  In my experiences, the short filmmakers had a limited budget to work with, and in a few cases just 12 hours to complete principal photography.  How some of these films were completed was nothing short of a miracle! 

I mentioned the PBA30 program Atlanta Shorts in a previous blog.  This program features short films made by Atlanta area filmmakers, and hopefully you have had an opportunity to check out their work.  If not, tune in this week to The Best of Atlanta Shorts.  This special program is devoted to the best shorts featured in the first season.  A few of the filmmakers and actors might be on hand for a brief discussion of their work. 

A couple of films on the program have CCLS connections.  The Bread Squeezer director Kasia Kowalczyk and producer Tal Harris donated a set of stage platforms to the Libraries prior to their move to New York City.  The film is a delightful comedy about an orphaned young man who compensates for the affection shown him by his parents by squeezing loaves of bread.  Yours truly was the production sound mixer for The Cord, a short about a man’s determination to find what’s at the end of a very long extension cord.

The Best of Atlanta Shorts is scheduled to air on:  Monday, September 17, 8:00pm; Wednesday, September 19, 9:00pm; Saturday, September 22, 11:00pm; Monday, September 24, 12:00am.  Viewer discretion is advised. 

Check the Atlanta Shorts MySpace page to view the Best of trailer and to see the complete episode listing.  Information on the show, including how you can submit your own film for broadcast, can be found on the Atlanta Shorts page on the PBA30 website.

Published in: on September 17, 2007 at 6:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gran “E” Luv @ Eula Pond Perry Center

Gran “E” Luv performs a little magic for the crowd! You can check out her web site here

Published in: on September 7, 2007 at 6:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Parent and Child in Pictures

Sometime, parents and their children don’t see eye to eye on some things. Outlook on life differs, traditions are threatened, and a struggle for dominance replaces nurturing. Such is the stuff of books and movies, and was a common theme in two movies I watched recently.

I didn’t think that a love story set in turn of the century Mexico and the rise, fall and re-emergence of a piano prodigy would have anything in common. But Like Water for Chocolate (Como Agua para Chocolate), based on the novelby Laura Esquivel and Shine, a biopic about pianist David Helfgott, touch on the central characters’ struggle to emerge from under their parents’ heavy hands to establish their own identities and find happiness.

In Like Water, Tita is forbidden by her mother Elena to marry her true love so Tita can take care of Elena in her old age. In Shine, David’s father Peter wants to keep his family together, so when David has an opportunity to study piano abroad, he refuses to allow it.Both parents completely disregard the feelings and needs of their children, and fail to realize the extent of the damage that they do: Peter’s dominance contributes to David’s mental breakdown; Elena’s actions to control Tita eventually destroys the family.

Where there should have been giving, nurturing and encouragement, the parents’ selfishness, dominance and disownment define the relationships with their children and their own characters. They nearly destroy their children, and make reconciliation impossible. Both Tita and David eventually triumph over their parent-born adversities, but only after parental ties are broken asunder.

I’m certainly not saying that one should get parenting tips from movies: Like Water is a work of fiction, and Shine, though is based on actual persons, doesn’t give the full picture of David and Peter’s relationship. And I’m not a parent myself. But I think that there are lessons in those two films, like cautionary tales. From time to time, a parent must step back and exam what s/he is doing to raise their children. Sometimes, what is thought to be the right thing, or even “tough love,” is really a cover for meeting the needs or desires of the parent, instead of effective rearing of the children.If the parent is astute, and humble, change can be made that would benefit both parent and child, especially in strengthening the bond that Tita and David had to break in order to find happiness.


The novel of Like Water for Chocolate contains several scrumptious, exotic recipes interwoven with the story. The recipes are presented here in their entirety.

Biographies of David Helfgott are available at CCLS and through PINES.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pinocchio in Geppetto’s Workshop


The carpenter Geppetto decides to make a beautiful wooden marionette, one that will dance, fence and turn somersaults.  Be he doesn’t count on his creation coming to life, with a mischievous and disobedient spirit to boot! 

Forest Park has revived its display featuring a puppet of the character Pinocchio.  The puppet is manufactured by Folkmanis, the folks who make the little rabbit puppets featured in our Easter Bunny Parade display.  Inspired by the promotional picture on the Folkmanis website, the display shows Pinocchio sitting in Geppetto’s shop, contemplating adventure instead of his chore of sweeping the floor.  The display was the first use of our display case for dioramas.  Former Branch employee Ashley Martin helped to build the wall and flooring. 

Carlo Collodi’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio has inspired many film and television adaptations, most notably the 1940 Disney animated film, as well as some literary adaptations.  Click here to view CCLS’s listing (Parents:  The listing found through the link contains titles that are Adult Fiction and Non-fiction).  The e-book can be downloaded from the Project Gutenberg website. 

Stop by the Forest Park branch through the month of September to see Pinocchio in Geppetto’s workshop!

Published in: on September 1, 2007 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment