PROFESSIONAL READING

Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America

291p. bibliog. further reading. index. Greenwood. Aug. 2017. Tr $94. ISBN 9781440843945.
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Jarvis offers a detailed look at book banning, arranging challenged titles by topic (race, religion, sex, etc.) and then chronologically. They range in age level from prekindergarten (And Tango Makes Three; Where's Waldo) through adult. Many of the selections are considered classics and are included in school curricula or found in school libraries. Seasoned librarians may be aware of many of the books, though others might be surprised to learn that some consider Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time and Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic controversial. The author provides a brief overview of censorship, including industry-imposed ratings boards as well as governmental standards and parent and religious group challenges. For each of the approximately 150 titles, he supplies a comprehensive plot synopsis, reasons why the book was contested, and the resolutions. Jarvis does not suggest how librarians should respond to a challenge, but the further reading at the end of each entry directs readers to a deeper title-specific discussion. The cross references by title, author, and subject make the volume even more user-friendly. Readers will need to look past the consistent misspelling of Newbery (misspelled Newberry), as a number of challenged books have Newbery Honor and Medal recognition.
VERDICT A useful professional resource, particularly for novice librarians and those unfamiliar with censorship issues.

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