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CCB Newsletter
September 2011


In this Newsletter…



Greetings From The New Faces at the CCB and the Bulletin

We would like to introduce our three new staff members for this academic year.  Our new CCB GA is Anna Holland.  Anna, a first semester GSLIS student, plans to concentrate her studies in public libraries.  She’s a Midwest girl, having lived in Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa.  Melissa Funfsinn, our new Bulletin GA, is another new GSLIS student.  She’s from Mendota, Illinois and plans to concentrate in Youth Services.  Lastly, we have Lauren Chenevert—our new Outreach and Communications Coordinator—who hails from Minnesota.  Also in her first semester at GSLIS, Lauren plans to concentrate in Youth Services.  Welcome, Anna, Melissa, and Lauren!

New CCB Facebook Page!

To stay connected with what’s going on at the CCB, be sure to ‘like’ our brand-new Facebook page.  We’ll remind you of upcoming events and programs in the CCB, like the Galley Giveaway or Youth Lit Book Club meetings.  You’ll be the first to hear when new bibliographies and interviews are posted to the CCB website.  We’ll also announce special volunteer opportunities with CCB Outreach events. 

Note: If you were previously a member of the old CCB Group on Facebook, please be sure to "like" our new page in order to remain connected.


September Calendar

Thursday, September 15, 11am: CCB Brown Bag Series, “Getting Graphic” with Graphic Novel Book Club
Thursday, September 15, 5-6pm: Youth Lit Book Club, discussing Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Monday, September 19, 5:30-7:30pm: CCB Open House and Galley Giveaway
Thursday, September 22, 5-7pm: Story Coach
Tuesday, September 27, 7-8pm at Espresso Royale: Graphic Novel Book Club

Events take place at the CCB unless otherwise noted. For complete descriptions of calendar events, visit the calendar on our website.


New Bibliographies on the CCB Website

Controversial & Commendable
Created by Lauren Chenevert                                      

A-Z: An Abecedarian Array
Created by Laurel Halfar


 Feature: Spotlight On Controversial Materials for Youth

As you might know, the end of September brings the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week, celebrating the principles of intellectual freedom.  Traditionally, ALA highlights controversial books for youth that have been challenged in recent history.  ALA notes that “while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections.”  Indeed, upholding the pillar of intellectual freedom has become such an integral part of the profession of librarianship it’s hard to imagine it any other way.  But Kate McDowell, a GSLIS Youth Services professor who studies the history of children’s librarianship, says children’s librarians in the early 19th century often served more as gatekeepers.  “Librarians made the decisions about what materials were ‘best’ for children,” explains McDowell.  “[Their profession] rested on the authority of their knowledge.”
So just what did those early children’s librarians think was “best”?  “Nonfiction: books about science, biographies, travelogues,” says McDowell.  In fact, fiction­—in its entirety—was considered the most dangerous material for youth.  “Fiction, being not real, was considered ‘misleading’ for giving children false views about life,” says McDowell.  “Children read it too fast, skimmed and skipped.  It was cheap, easy to access, and flooded the market.”  Interestingly, the format caused the controversy more so than the actual content reflected in it. 

Today, conversely, most books are challenged on the basis of their content.  According to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, the top three reasons cited for challenges are:

  1. The material was considered “sexually explicit”;
  2. The material contained “offensive language”;
  3. The material was deemed “unsuited to any age group.”

McDowell points out that the motivation to challenge materials often comes from good intentions: “there is a gesture, a concern, that goes behind wanting to protect one’s child.”  Indeed, parents represent the largest group of initiators:  ALA’s Challenge Database, comprised of 10,676 challenges on record from 1990-2010, reports that parents were involved in initiating 6,103 of those challenges.  Schools and school libraries represent the settings for the majority of these challenges (7,707), followed by public libraries (2,679).  Challenged materials range from classic novels—The Catcher in the Rye, for example, or To Kill A Mockingbird—to entire series like Harry Potter and Junie B. Jones.  Nonfiction isn’t safe from such scrutiny, either.  Robie Harris’ books about sexual health and body awareness (It’s Perfectly Normal, It’s So Amazing, and It’s Not the Stork) have landed her on the list of most frequently challenged authors of the 21st century. 

In 2010, challenges reported to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom were at their lowest level since 1991—but the ALA suggests, “For each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.”  McDowell echoes the sentiment for librarians’ continued need to navigate challenges to intellectual freedom.  “Collection development policies are important and explain why [libraries] have diverse collections of materials, and who is in the community,” notes McDowell.  “[These policies] are the key tools librarians have to explain the principles behind what they are doing.”  Yet even with defensible collection development policies and the support of ALA’s standards for intellectual freedom, challenges will continue to arise.  “We should be ascribing to the highest possible level of intellectual freedom ideals, but ideals are levels of perfection that we can’t necessarily reach,” McDowell says.  “Librarians on the ground have to make tough calls.  Communities have to make compromises.”  And it seems that materials published for youth will continue to cause controversy, just as they have for the past century.  

For further reading:
*Check out Kate McDowell's website for more on her research and interests.
*Take a look at GSLIS associate professor Christine Jenkins' website, especially her research in GLBTQ literature for youth.
*See GSLIS associate professor Carol Tilley's website, especially her research in comics for youth.


Our Affiliates Out and About

Karen Coats, professor of English at Illinois State University, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books reviewer, and CCB affiliate and Deborah Stevenson, director of the Center for Children's Books, will be in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, September 24-October 3, for the international research colloquium "TransForming Childhood: Discourses and Practice."


New Books We Just Had to Read

Every month, the CCB Graduate Assistants highlight books reviewed in the most recent issue of the Bulletin that we were excited to read. These decisions are based on personal preference, but all books listed are Recommended by the Bulletin. For complete reviews, visit the Bulletin website ( to learn how to subscribe.

Laurel’s Choice: Wildwood by Colin Meloy, illus. by Carson Ellis
Reading Level: Gr. 5-7
Pages: 560
Publisher and Year: HarperCollins, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-202468-8
Price: $16.99

Songwriter and front man for the indie folk rock band the Decemberists, Meloy makes his debut as a children’s book author with a high fantasy adventure set in a wilderness world just outside of Portland - Wildwood. Humans seldom enter, and even less return, from this section of supposedly impassable wilderness. That is until Prue, a seemingly typical 12-year-old girl, and her unsolicited sidekick and schoolmate, Curtis, tromp right in whilst chasing a flock of oversized crows that flew off with Prue’s baby brother, Mac. Once in Wildwood, Prue and Curtis encounter a lively assortment of friends and foes: coyote soldiers, anarchist bandits, avian royalty, a resentful Dowager Governess, meditating mystics, and other lively creatures. The pair soon learns about the escalating power struggles, impeding battle, and true motivation for Mac’s kidnapping (the Dowager Governess plans to sacrifice him to an invasive ivy plant, resulting not only in Mac’s death, but also the destruction of Wildwood). The duo must find a way to save Mac and the world their new friends inhabit. This high-action tale is complimented by the whimsical charm of Ellis’s illustrations. Fans of Wildwood will have more to enjoy, as this is the first in an anticipated series. 

Anna’s Choice: Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury
Reading Level: Gr. 7-10
Pages: 309
Publisher and Year: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-9007-9
Price: $16.99

Jane Austen fans will surely appreciate seventeen-year-old Agnes Wilkins, a privileged, bright, and hopeless young adventuress in 1815 Regency England. While faced with insistent pressures from her family to secure a husband in her wealthy, attractive neighbor, Lord Showalter, Agnes finds little hope of contentment in the life everyone expects of her. Like her friend Julia, Agnes continually struggles with the unjust limitations of her sex. She dreams of traveling without the restriction of a husband or frowning chaperone. She never imagined that the very sense of adventure, intrigue, and mystery she craved would come barging in the very moment she made her stunning societal debut at Lord Showalter’s first party of the season.  Urged by Showalter to participate in the party’s unusual entertainment—a mummy “unwrapping”—Agnes accidently uncovers a deadly national secret. With the help of a young museum worker, who to her surprise and slight frustration rivals her imagined Mr. Darcy, Agnes suddenly finds herself with necessary cause to challenge both social norms and propriety in order to save her beloved country. With the words of A Lady–her cherished authoress–often guiding Agnes through tricky situations, Bradbury writes a charming, sweet and absorbing adventure-mystery with an equally lovable wink of romance.         

Lauren’s Choice: Clean by Amy Reed
Reading Level: Gr. 9-12
Pages: 272
Publisher and Year: Simon Pulse, 2011
ISBN: 1-4424-1344-1
Price: $16.99

Gritty and provocative, this narrative offers five alternating perspectives of teens enduring the physically and emotionally grueling process of substance abuse rehab.  Meet Kelly, Olivia, Eva, Christopher, and Jason—five teens who fell into addiction for different reasons, but face the same arduous path climbing out.  Kelly turned to alcohol and cocaine while seeking to numb herself from the pain of low-self worth and the unintended neglect of her parents.  Eva, part of a loving family until the death of her mother, abused marijuana in a vain attempt to get her grief-stricken father to notice her.  Christopher lived a religiously sheltered life, until a neighbor showed him the escape offered by meth.  Olivia, middle child in a high-profile family that valued exceptionalism above all else, took dangerous diet pills as prescribed by her mother and faces a serious eating disorder as a result.  Jason’s excessive drinking stems from a tumultuous family environment pierced with abuse.  The story cleverly oscillates between chapters of deep, introspective first person narration, script-like narrations of group therapy scenes, and “excerpts” from rehab assigned surveys and writing assignments.  Striking a thoughtful balance between alarming realism and relative sanguinity, Clean proves to be a satisfying read. 


Highlighted Book from Our Wish List

Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Harcourt, 2008. 471 p. ISBN 978-0-15-206396-2

In this fantasy novel, readers meet Katsa, a Graceling gifted with extraordinary fighting powers.  But when she is forced into using her powers to torture others, Katsa battles back by creating a secret council to promote justice. 

For more book selections or to order this one, visit the CCB’s Amazon Wish List.


CCB Fall Hours and General Information

Note: The CCB will be closed Monday, September 5 (Labor Day). 

Monday: 10 am – 5 pm
Tuesday: 10 am – 7 pm
Wednesday: 3 pm – 7 pm
Thursday: 10 am – 7 pm
Friday: 10 am – 5pm

For more information about the CCB and our collection, please visit the About Us page on our website.

ListServ Information
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