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Books under Fire: A Hit List of Banned and Challenged Children's Books
Pat R. Scales for OIF
Item Number: 978-0-8389-1109-9
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $50.00
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232 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-1109-9
Year Published: 2015
AP Categories: A, C, E, G

Many things have changed since ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) was founded in 1967, but not everything: the most beloved and popular children’s books are still among the most frequent targets of censorship and outright bans. Limiting access to controversial titles such as Captain Underpants, The Dirty Cowboy, Blubber, or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or leaving them out of a library’s collection altogether is not the answer to challenges. In this important book, Scales gives librarians the information and guidance they need to defend challenged books with an informed response while ensuring access to young book lovers. Spotlighting dozens of “hot button” titles written for young children through teens, this book
  • Gives a profile of each book that covers its plot, characters, published reviews, awards and prizes, and author resources
  • Recounts past challenges and how they were faced, providing valuable lessons for handling future situations, plus a list of other books challenged for similar reasons 
  • Provides discussion ideas for planning programming around banned books, whether in reading groups, classrooms, or other settings
  • Includes an appendix of additional resources for librarians who find themselves enmeshed in a challenge
With this guide at hand, library managers, children’s and YA librarians, and other library staff will be prepared to champion intellectual freedom for young people.

Foreward, by Barbara M. Jones

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie and illustrated by Ellen Forney
The Fighting Ground, by Avi
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
My Mom's Having a Baby!, by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Carol Thompson
Mommy Laid on Egg! or, Where Do Babies Come From?, by Babette Cole
My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
Dead Man in Indian Creek, by Mary Downing Hahn
It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley
Dairy of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney
Anastasia Krupnik series, by Lois Lowry
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Junie B. Jones series, by Barbara Park and illustrated by Denise Brunkus
The Family Book, by Todd Parr
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron
Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered, by Gary Paulsen
Mexican WhiteBoy, by Matt de la Pena
Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey
In Our Mothers' House, by Patricia Polacco
And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole
Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling
Scary Stories series, by Alvin Schwartz
How to Get Suspended and Influence People, by Adam Selzer
Bone series, by Jeff Smith
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
The Dirty Cowboy, by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex
Stuck in Neutral, by Terry Trueman


About the Author

Pat Scales is a retired middle school and high school librarian whose programs have been featured on the Today Show and in various professional journals. She received the ALA/Grolier Award in 1997, and has served as chair of the prestigious Newberry, Caldecott, and Wilder Award committees. She is a past president of the Association of Library Service for Children, a division of the American Library Association. Scales has been actively involved with ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee for a number of years, is a member of the Freedom to Read Foundation, serves on the Council of Advisers of the National Coalition Against Censorship, and acts as a spokesperson for First Amendment issues as they relate to children and young adults. She is the author of Teaching Banned Books: Twelve Guides for Young Readers and Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your Library. She write a bimonthly column for School Library Journal, a monthly column for the Random House website, and is a regular contributor to Book Links magazine.


”This is an excellent directory, guiding professionals to articles, books, and websites that will assist in helping to protect that right, providing an arsenal of information from creating a display to raise awareness to having a conversation with a concerned reader. Concise and clear, this 'hit list' is a must-have for any professional collection and also an inspiration for reading some titles never explored before—controversy will always make a title more enticing."

”Contains a veritable arsenal of information to employ when the book challenger comes knocking at the library’s door … clearly indispensable and belongs in every library collection."
— Booklist (starred review)

”Any youth librarian that has this title within easy reach will be ready to program with challenged materials, discuss intellectual freedom issues with kids and grown ups, and respond intelligently to book challenges."
— School Library Journal

  Also of interest:  
True Stories of Censorship Battles in America's Libraries
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1130-3
Those facing censorship challenges can find support and inspiration in this book, which compiles dozens of stories from library front lines.
Price: $58.00
Complete Copyright for K–12 Librarians and Educators
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1083-2
Thanks to best-selling copyright authority Carrie Russell, there’s a resource just for school librarians and educators, offering clear guidance for providing materials to students while carefully observing copyright law.
Price: $52.00
Protecting Intellectual Freedom in Your School Library
Item Number:  978-0-8389-3581-1
Pat Scales uses her experience and expertise to offer an intellectual freedom title tailored to the school library environment.
Price: $52.00