aka YA Literature

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Books in Prisons

The Austin American Statesman has an interesting article today on how the Texas prison system decides what reading material is allowed for inmates. Essentially, reading material like books arrive in the mailroom, the mail clerk looks in the computer database to see if it's already been "banned," and if not, they scan through the item to see if there is anything objectionable ("objectionable" including all kinds of different issues). I guess it's efficient, and efficiency is necessary when you're talking about sorting through so much mail. I guess from a librarian's p.o.v., it hurts me to think of a single mail clerk deciding if a book should be on the "banned" list. They do have an appeals process, which is good, but the article points out how difficult that is considering the inmates can't look at the book to make a case for its acceptability. Some of the books that are and are not allowed are pretty interesting. I also love that the AAS would look at this issue and put it front page.

"Banned in Texas Prisons: Books and Magazines That Many Would Consider Classics"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Ratings

Preface: I'm not in favor of book ratings.


Tony Buchsbaum at January Magazine has this post called "Are Your Kids' Books Rated R?" In reading this article (and others like it), I'm surprised that no one ever seems to mention that manga has ratings ("all ages," "teen," "older teen," and "adult"). How does this play into arguments about marketing, sales, censorship, artistic expression, selection, etc.? I have to say that I personally really like the ratings because I don't read manga myself and there aren't a lot of reviews for manga in the major library and book review publications. I rely on these ratings to give me a sense of what age group the book is for. I have all but "adult" series in my library. I could be wrong, but I think it might actually help in a book challenge because I could say that students chose a book that was clearly intended for above their age, or we do have books for older students who go to my school. I don't know---maybe that wouldn't help.

I do agree with him that it is often difficult for students to select books that are of appropriate age, style, interest, etc. to them (many things to consider as far as "appropriate," not just if there is anything naughty in the book). I posted about the research Vivian Howard did for VOYA on how selection is the single biggest impediment teens face in reading books. I remember seeing a 9-10 year-old boy reading Frank Portman's King Dork. I can totally see why he'd select that book, but it's totally not right for someone of that age for many reasons. Then, of course, we have the perennial issue of parents who purposefully choose books intended for older individuals because their child has a high reading level, even though the "intended audience" isn't merely about vocabulary and sentence structure. Don't really know where I'm going with all of this except to bring it back to my original question/observation of the fact that manga has ratings and is that bad?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wings Movie

Am I the only who didn't know that Miley Cyrus is going to star in the film version of Aprilynne Pike's Wings?

Monday, January 18, 2010


My thoughts on the Printz this year:

1. Nothing for Marcelo in the Real World? This makes me utterly disappointed.

2. Didn't see Going Bovine coming at all. I don't know that I would have agreed, but good for Libba Bray!

3. I didn't see The Monstrumologist coming either (even though I think I read some blog speculation about this), but I'm happy for Rick Yancey. As I've mentioned before, I thought the marketing on this (trailer, cover, etc.) was very good. My students who read it have all given it a "so-so" verdict, though.

4. I haven't yet bought a copy of Punkzilla for my library because I've been hoping the paperback version will have a better cover, one that will actually appeal to any teenager. This is one of, if not the worst, covers of the year imo.