Ban this Book by Adam Gratz

March 17, 2018     erinthebooknut     Book review

Ban this Book by Adam GratzBan This Book by Alan Gratz
Published by Starscape Books on August 29th 2017
Pages: 256

-Readers, librarians, and all those books that have drawn a challenge have a brand new hero.... Stand up and cheer, book lovers. This one's for you.- --Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor-winning The Underneath

An inspiring tale of a fourth-grader who fights back when her favorite book is banned from the school library--by starting her own illegal locker library!

It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That's when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate's mom thought the book wasn't appropriate for kids to read.

Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.

Reminiscent of the classic novel Frindle by Andrew Clements for its inspiring message, Ban This Book is a love letter to the written word and its power to give kids a voice.

-Ban This Book is absolutely brilliant and belongs on the shelves of every library in the multiverse.---Lauren Myracle, author of the bestselling Internet Girls series, the most challenged books of 2009 and 2011

3.5 Nuts

BAN THIS BOOK is a middle grade, and a fairly young middle grade book at that. It’s a cutesy take on book censorship and banning for young readers in a time when the community seems to be having this discussion over and over.

The main character of the book is a fourth grader who routinely checks out the same book every week. Hahaha. Me. By fourth grade I had probably read through almost the entire elementary school library and just repeatedly checked out my favorites again and again. Girl, I was you.

Then her favorite book is banned, uh oh. Now come in the intolerably bratty siblings which cutesify the book up a little. Really I don’t care for the obnoxious sibling trope. I think it can be a little demeaning to the sibling relationship. But I also didn’t get to know mine we were all much older so perhaps others see it differently. Still this part of the book made me cringe.

BAN THIS BOOK was a fast read, something I probably would have adored as a younger reader. Fight the power! Share those books! But because it’s middle grade the stakes aren’t as high as you would expect in a young adult version of the same story. I absolutely love the idea of an illegal locker library. This book made me want to see it done for an older audience. Not that this one was done badly, it’s not. It’s just so far below my age group, and I want to see what a young adult perspective could do with it. It made me yearn for more, which is a good thing.

All around this was an enjoyable read. Quick, mostly satisfying, but some of the interpersonal relationships between characters was hard to get through. Particularly the siblings. Just… no. Also if my kid sisters had stolen my books to use as building materials they would find themselves in a world of hurt. Parents be damned. But this goes for anyone who mistreats my babies.

I think I’m going to have to give this to my sister for her kid when he gets older to read. We’ll make him a reader for sure.

What was your favorite book when you were young? Share in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,


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