From School Library Journal
Scales states that: "every time we listen to a student's opinion, we practice the principles of intellectual freedom. This isn't a responsibility for which many of us were prepared by teacher training or in library school. It is a learned responsibility, and it is ours." She begins this title with strategies for studying the First Amendment, with suggestions for discussion topics, activities, and fiction and nonfiction connections. Parts two through five include books grouped by broad headings: "The Bully and the Outcasts"; "Racism, Bigotry, and Civil Rights"; "Reality, Secrets, and the Imagination"; "Other Worlds, Other Cultures, and Other Times." Book titles include Judy Blume's Blubber, Brock Cole's The Goats, Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963, and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia. For each book, there is a plot summary, a pre-reading activity, discussion questions to encourage critical thinking, and activities to broaden students' knowledge of topics in the novel. This book can serve as a springboard for class discussions, staff development for administrators and teachers, and for parent groups. It can also reinforce the courage of those who work with young people to provide avenues for them to practice this important right.
Mary Lankford, Texas Education Agency, Austin~
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Scales, a middle-school librarian for 28 years, performs a valuable service here. She pushes banned books front and center so that instead of hiding these titles, librarians can celebrate them. She has chosen 12 frequently challenged books (including Blubber
(1974), The Goats
(1987), Julie of the Wolves
(1972), and My Brother Sam is Dead
(1974), and she shows teachers and librarians how to teach them. Particularly useful is the introductory chapter that instructs readers how to teach the First Amendment using discussion questions like this: "Interpret the following quote by Oscar Wilde: 'The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.'" She then goes on to individual titles; for each there is a long synopsis of the book, discussion questions, and activities. Some of the activities stretch a bit, but everything else is solid, useful, and thought provoking. Much of this was originally published in Book Links
magazine, and Scales knows her material inside out. She also knows how to inspire others to take up this cause and gives them an effective handbook to do just that. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved