April 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books: A Handbook for Librarians and Educators by Pat R. Scales | SLJ Review

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redstarSCALES, Pat R. Defending Frequently Challenged Young Adult Books: A Handbook for Librarians and Educators. 244p. appendix. Rowman & Littlefield. Sept. 2016. Tr $38.99. ISBN 9781442264328.

defending-challenged-booksAs 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.–Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.