Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Trim: 7 x 10
978-1-4422-6431-1 • Hardback • September 2016 • $92.00 • (£71.00)
978-1-4422-6432-8 • Paperback • September 2016 • $47.00 • (£36.00)
978-1-4422-6433-5 • eBook • September 2016 • $44.50 • (£34.00)
Pat R. Scales is a retired middle and high school librarian whose program Communicate Through Literature was featured on the Today Show and in various professional journals. She received the ALA/Grolier Award in 1997, and was featured in Library Journal’s first issue of Movers and Shakers in Libraries: People Who Are Shaping the Future of Libraries. Ms. Scales has served as chair of the prestigious Newbery, 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 as 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.
As the title implies, this volume serves as a resource for public and school librarians who face complaints or objections to books housed within their young adult collections. There are 54 separate examples listed alphabetically by title (including Go Ask Alice, Sherman Alexie’s The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Judy Blume’s Forever, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and more). Additional books and resources can be found in the title’s appendixes, but the work’s strength comes from the litany of information in the aforementioned primary book entries. Each of these entries contains a summary, professional reviews, awards, and honors the book may have received and, perhaps most important, a record of all known challenges. There is also a section at the end titled ‘Resources Responding to Challenges,’ which offers librarians the necessary background that they may need before responding to an upset or angry patron. Scales spent many years as a middle and high school librarian, which ultimately shows in the finished product; it serves as a very practical guide and is a must-have for new young adult librarians responding to their first book challenge.
Verdict: A highly recommended purchase for elementary, middle, and high school professional reading collections as well as for public librarians working with children.
— School Library Journal, Starred Review
Librarians and other school personnel continue to be confronted with challenges from the school and greater community about materials on the school shelves. Young adult books tend to be most vulnerable because their topics often address supposedly adult issues that teens may have to deal with: sexual self identity, pregnancy, drug abuse, violence, and suicide, among others. Noted library expert Scales provides information to support keeping 54 frequently challenged young adult fiction books. Scales’ preface gives a brief history of challenges to YA books and notes the current rise in such efforts. She then has a chapter for each of the 54 titles, arranged alphabetically. Books range in publication date from the 1970s to 2014. Each chapter includes publishing history; sample quotation from the book; history of challenges; brief plot summary and summary of controversial issues; suggestions for talking with teens about the issue; other similar challenged books; resources for responding to challenges (e.g., reviews, articles, awards lists); information about the author; further reading about the novel; and other media sources. Several appendix lists add value: adult books in high-school curricula that have been challenged, top challenged YA books for the last 25 years, resources for teaching about the First Amendment and the freedom to read, and free-speech organizations. A general index concludes the volume. . . .Scales has done a commendable job in providing information about each of these selected titles.
By providing a guide for frequently challenged books, this text serves as a handbook for educators and librarians who must negotiate book challenges in their libraries and classrooms. Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books is an invaluable collection of fifty-two of the most infamously challenged young adult books. In its own chapter, each book is succinctly profiled: a brief plot summary is offered, along with a list of its most important themes, and the most recent or relevant challenges and their rationales. Each book is paired with other young adult novels that were challenged for similar reasons, followed by resources for responding to challenges and credible justifications for inclusion in the library or classroom. An additional section, 'Talking With Teens About The Issues,' offers specific, compelling questions to help facilitate discussions with adolescent readers about the book and its challenged content. This is a must-have resource for teachers, librarians, parents, and anyone else concerned with the implications of censorship.
We want kids to read and that means they need to be able to choose books they want to read. Pat Scales Handbook offers educators and librarians a vital resource for selecting and defending 54 young adult books that kids love to read.
— Millie Davis, English teacher and National Council of Teachers of English Senior Developer, Affiliates, and Director, Intellectual Freedom Center
Pat Scales provides an invaluable resource for teachers, librarians, parents and others who care about young adult literature and literacy. This volume draws on her many years of experience as a librarian guiding young people and their parents through rewarding and meaningful books that others avoid because they don’t know how to deal with sensitive or controversial content. The section in each chapter on “Talking with Teens About the Issues” shows how these books, rather than being “challenging,” invite young readers to think and talk about what’s on their mind and create opportunities for adults to open up discussions about important issues. Implicit in the book is the message that kids should have access to books that interest and engage them, and that the best and safest way to confront life’s challenges is through literature. I couldn’t agree more.
— Joan Bertin, Executive Director, National Coalition Against Censorship