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Tag: sandra cisneros

Chicago: Read Through the Windy City

Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean" in Millenium Park. Photo by Libby Gorman.
Cloud Gate, aka “The Bean” in Millenium Park. Photo by Libby Gorman.

Our family vacation this year was a road trip from our home in Maryland to Chicago, so I thought it would be fun to find books with a connection to this famous metropolis.

Al Capone Does My Shirts, by Gennifer Choldenko (Best Book for Young Adults 2005, 2005 Audiobook for Young Adults). Although NOT set in Chicago, but rather on Alcatraz Island, near San Francisco, the title character was of course famous for his illegal rule of the Windy City. Since we had the fun of eating deep-dish pizza at The Exchequer, known for being one of Capone’s haunts, I couldn’t Al_Capone_Does_My_Shirtsresist including this title. The story actually focuses on Moose, a twelve-year-old who’s forcibly moved to Alcatraz when his father takes on a guard job there, but the historical details provide some interesting insights on the era when Capone was active.

An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green (2007 Printz Honor Book). Ok, main character Colin Singleton starts this story by needing to get out of Chicago, after he’s dumped by his 19th girlfriend named Katherine. Still, between the road trip and the pictures of his early life around the University of Chicago, the book came to mind when I visited the city myself.

DivergentDivergent, by Veronica Roth (2012 Teens’ Top Ten, 2012 Best Fiction for Young Adults). I admit it, I haven’t read this series yet. But now that I know it takes place not just in some abstract future, but in Chicago of the future, I will have to get started. If you are one of the few who, like me, haven’t read it yet, Divergent and its sequels follow the story of Tris, a girl who, on her sixteenth birthday decides to change her “faction” from Abnegation to Dauntless. Hunger Games-like tests follow, along with chilling revelations about her society. 

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Censorship in Tucson, Arizona: Exercise Your Rights

We all had the chance to celebrate the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week from September 24th to October 1st, 2011. During this time, readers of all ages were encouraged to read materials that were challenged for a variety reasons. Now, only a few months later, a new challenge to intellectual freedom has arisen in Arizona:

Tucson, Arizona, public schools suspended their Mexican-American studies program after an administrative law judge ruled it violated a new state law and the state said the local district was going to lose $15 million in annual aid, officials said. (CNN)

Basically the law prevents “ethnic studies classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government.” On January 31, 2012, the ALA announced that they were totally opposed to restricting books based on their cultural or ethnic content. Encouraged by ALA’s Freedom to Read Statement, which says, “No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say,” here is a list of books students in Arizona can no longer read.

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Getting ready for Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is coming up (September 15 – October 15)!  What are you doing to get ready for it?  About a third of my student patron base is Latino/a, and I want them to be reading this month (well, every month).  Here are a few things that are going to be on my Featured shelf starting September 15 (and some of them will double nicely as Banned Books Week features as well).

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