It’s October, which means many things, but for most of you it means Halloween is coming! Excited? The folks at MorphCostumes were nice enough to put together some fun facts to help us all get into the spirit. (Spirit, get it?)
Young Adult books are the focus of Banned Books Week in 2015. Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will run from September 27 through October 3, 2015, and will be observed in libraries, schools, bookstores and other community settings across the nation and the world.
“Young Adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee. “These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices.”
In recent years, the majority of the most frequently challenged books in libraries have been Young Adult (YA) titles. Six YA titles were on the list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2014, according to the American Library Association. Attempted bans on books of all kinds also frequently occur under the guise of protecting younger audiences.
Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship. Last year, tens of thousands of people participated in Banned Books Week online. More than 500 videos were posted in a virtual read-out, and thousands participated in hundreds of events in bookstores, libraries, and schools and universities across the country.
BannedBooksWeek.org is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can get involved. The website also includes resources and activities provided by event sponsors.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People For the American Way Foundation, PEN American Center, and Project Censored. (via the American Library Association website)
So what are the top challenged Young Adult* books of 2014-2015?
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday)
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)
Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)
Chinese Handcuffs, by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)
The Giver, by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)
The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday)
Looking for Alaska, by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)
Data courtesy of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.
* Young Adult literature is generally written for an audience between the ages of about eleven or twelve to about seventeen or eighteen. This is not a steadfast rule, but rather a general parameter. For the purpose of this list, the sponsors of Banned Books Week have defined Young Adult as books that have been taught in middle and high schools, and/or are located in the teen collections of public and/or school libraries.
Curious as to what the full list of banned and challenged books were for 2014-2015? Check it out here.
Looking for a Young Adult book to read? Buzzfeed lists 37 Books Every YA Fan Needs To Read Before They Die (According to Goodreads Users).
As you know, tomorrow is a one of Rebecca’s high holy days. You know what it is of course. It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day! It’s a day when you act silly and talk like a cartoony pirate, but more importantly, it’s when we can all partake in the most stereotypical of all pirate activities, rum drinking! Now if you’re not like me and don’t have this date marked on your calendar it is certainly not too late to come up with some ideas for how to celebrate.
First, and most importantly, to truly celebrate you just need to talk like a pirate. So let loose with the salty pirate speech mateys, for the occasion calls for it. If you do that, you have celebrated the day. However, if you’re looking for a little more powder in your keg, might I direct your attention to The Original Talk Like a Pirate Day website?
This site has EVERYTHING! How to talk like a pirate, pirate quizzes, pirate name generators, pirate party kit page (includes invitations, website banners, e-cards, drink recipes, and more!), and then a crazy links page. There are links to every kind of pirate related thing you could imagine: historical pirates, pirate comics, pirate themed restaurants, pirate books for adults, teens, and kids, pirate apps, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, pirate themed musical acts, pirate alcohol, and many more!
No matter how you choose to celebrate, just do so responsibly with those that you love.
And don’t call me Sunday morning.
Here it is, actually past due for me to get all Oprah on you and give you my 10 favorite things from 2014. This year was really hard to pick just 10 things, and immediately after I did the list more things came my way. So next year you may see some things that were featured on the site late this year. Enough about that, let’s get to the favoriting! (In no particular order of favorite-ness.)
1. “Among the Mermaids: Facts, Myths, and Enchantments from the Sirens of the Sea” by Varla Ventura. As someone who has always loved myths and stories about sirens and mermaids, “Among the Mermaids” was a definite stand out for the year. Not only did Ventura fill the book with lore and legends of merrows, mermaids, and sirens, but the resources section in the back lists books, movies, and shopping. Shopping! Want your mermaid tail?
2. “The Encyclopedia of Crystals” by Judy Hall. I love gemstones, rocks, and minerals. The end. Okay, not the end. This book makes learning more about crystals super easy. The stones are divided up by color, but also listed in alphabetical order in the crystal index in the front of the book, and of course there is a thorough index at the back of the book. Each entry has a fantastic image or two to help with identification and then they list: crystal system, chemistry, hardness, source, chakra, number, zodiac sign, planet, and what it’s beneficial for. After that there is a paragraph with historical and folkloric detail.
3. “The Daemon Tarot” by Ariana Osborne. Based on Jacques Auguste Simon Collin de Plancy’s “Dictionnaire Infernal”, this 69 card deck isn’t just a divinatory tool, but a piece of occult reference. Obviously it cannot be used exactly as a tarot deck, but thanks to a researched and well thought out companion book, you’ll be doing a single card draw or a six card spread in no time.
4. “The Witch’s Broom: The Craft, Lore & Magick of Broomsticks” by Deborah Blake. As one would suspect, there are oodles of nifty, witchy, bits of broom magic to be found in “The Witch’s Broom”. However, it’s the tons of stuff that you can appreciate whether you’re a witch or not that makes this book a favorite. You can learn how to make your own broom, how to decorate store bought brooms, there are get great gift ideas, and there is fun broom folklore and history.
5. “Encyclopedia of Goddesses & Heroines” by Patricia Monaghan. Monaghan published the first encyclopedia of divine females in 1979, and that book has stayed in print in one form or another right up to today. The latest is newly expanded and features more than 1,000 heroines and goddesses from folklore, literature, and religion from around the world. It. Kicks. Ass.
6. “365 Tarot Spreads” by Sasha Graham. A different tarot spread for each day of the year. They’re unique and thought out. If you want a tarot workout in the New Year, get this book now!
7. “The Yoga of Cleaning” by Jennifer Carter Avgerinos. Weird, right? Nope. Avgerinos background as both a certified yoga instructor and having worked in the consumer packaged cleaning tools industry for the past several years indeed gives her a unique perspective on these two seemingly divergent topics. She brings them together in a way that, I swear, makes you want to clean.
8. “Sacred Objects, Sacred Space: Everyday Tools for the Modern-Day Witch” by Dayna Winters, Patricia Gardner, and Angela Kaufman. These are the ladies that wrote “Wicca: What’s the Real Deal?”, and just like with their first book they did a fantastic job a packing an incredible amount of information into an easily digestible amount of book. This trio discuss just about any object you can imagine being used in magic, along with the appropriate care and ways to craft your own or personalize it. They also cover every space in which magic can be worked. This is a must own.
9. “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences: How Understanding NDEs Can Help Us Live More Fully” by Dr. Penny Satori. There have dozens of books written about near-death experiences, however in my opinion this is the one we’ve been waiting for. Dr. Satori’s book is based off of the UK’s first long term prospective study of near-death experiences and she was awarded a PhD for her research in 2005. That’s right, it’s science. Although the research is grounded in science, Satori also includes many of her experiences from her 17 years as an intensive care nurse. This makes “The Wisdom of Near-Death Experiences” a compelling read.
10. Helderberg Mead. 2014 gets to be the year that I fell in love with Helderberg Mead. As Peter Voelker said when I interviewed him about Helderberg Meadworks, “Most mead that you can buy in the wine stores around here either tastes like a low alcohol honey syrup or a nice soft white wine. While there’s nothing wrong with that (I love a nice Vidal Blanc), HMW takes a different approach. We use techniques that would have been used many moons ago and produce a mead that has big, bold and feral qualities to it. We’ve adapted old world methods to modern day sanitation and palettes without catering to any particular group of consumers. This is mead as we think it should be. With that said, there are 2 major differences between HMWs mead and others. The first is our alcohol content, which has a range on the label of 15% to 16%. Our current “Burgundy Wax” batch is at the high side of that range. Most others are from 8% to 11%. The second difference is our use of oak aging. Back in the days before metals were commonly available, oak would have been the preferred storage vessel for nearly all drinks. We have taken this concept and applied it to our mead. The result is a powerful mead (shouldn’t all traditional mead be POWERFUL?) with a whiskey-like nose and great honey flavor without being overly sweet.”
Still looking for a Halloween costume idea? Well, a press release I received from the political blog Press the President might influence you with the idea of winning cash for your politically inspired costume.
Washington, D.C. (October 6, 2014) – With Halloween and Election Day just around the corner, PressThePresident.com wants you to get in the spirit by submitting photos or videos of yourself dressed as your favorite politician or political issue. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans celebrate these holidays with costumes and parties and now you have a chance to be rewarded for your creative efforts.
PressThePresident.com is offering a cash prize for the best photo or video submission of individuals dressing as a politician or demonstrating a political issue. Press the President’s editorial staff will judge video and photo submissions on relevancy, creativity, and originality. All photos and videos must be submitted by 12:01 a.m. PST on November 5, 2014 to be considered. For full submissions guidelines, please scroll down.
Struggling for the best costume idea? We have you covered. Here are some hot button issues we think would make great creative costume idea:
• Global Warming – With so many options for this one, it is hard to know where to start. The easiest costume idea is simply to wear a global and dress it up with winter accessories – before you know it, you are warming the globe!
• Pollution – While covering yourself in trash may cause some individuals to stop in shock, it certainly gets the point across! According to DoSomething.org, Pollution is one of the biggest global killers, affecting over 100 million people. That’s comparable to global diseases like malaria and HIV.
• Animal Rights – Wear a costume that showcases your feelings about clothing from animals, food from animals, fur trade, and rights associated with hunting.
• Veteran’s Rights – Although Veteran’s Day isn’t until November 11th, why not get a head start on celebrating the men and women who have served our country by dressing up like one of your military heroes? In light of the recent Phoenix VA Hospital scandal, many Americans have made an effort to educate themselves about what they can do to support these individuals.
Photo Submission guidelines:
• Must be original content from the user.
• Must be accompanied by caption of whom the politician or political issue is and why the individual decided to dress like them.
• Any photo containing nudity, profanity, violence, graphic content, illegal drugs, derogatory comments, personal attacks or slander towards others will be removed and will not be considered for the contest. Anything that is considered spam or an advertisement will also be removed.
• Contestants are encouraged to submit a written piece as well (no more than 500 words) about the politician or issue they are portraying.
Video Submission Guidelines:
• Must be original content from the user
• Must be no longer than 60 seconds in length
• It must be clear which politician or political issue you are imitating.
• Must abide decorum of Press the President – any video containing nudity, profanity, violence, graphic content, illegal drugs, derogatory comments, personal attacks or slander towards others will be removed and will not be considered for the contest. Anything that is considered spam or an advertisement will also be removed.
• Contestants are encouraged to submit a written piece as well (no more than 500 words) about the politician or issue they are portraying.
Rights of Press the President:
• Press the President reserves the right to remove any photos or videos that do not comply with the above guidelines.
• Press the President reserves the right to use any submitted photos or videos on PressThePresident.com or in any other manner or platform Press the President chooses to promote itself now or in the future.
Submissions will be judged on relevancy, creativity, and originality by Press the President’s editorial staff.
• 1st prize – $300.00
• 2nd prize – $150.00
• 3rd prize – $100.00
Winners will be contacted via email at which point they will be required to send their mailing address for follow-up purposes. The winner of the contest will most likely be interviewed for a press release about their photo and why they decided to “go political” this Halloween instead of rocking the spooky outfit.
How to Enter
To submit a picture -Email email@example.com. Please include a short sentence about the costume and what this politician or issue means for you.
To submit a video –You simply take your smart phone, ask your friend or family member or a simple passerby on the street to record you for 60 seconds doing your best impression or impersonation of the politician of your choice. Care taken for costumes and props are given special attention by the judges for consideration for prizes. Once you have your 60 second video, you can post it here on Press the President. Just create a profile using your Facebook account: http://www.pressthepresident.com/show.jsp.
And away you go! This is your opportunity to have fun and get prize money for doing it!
For more details, visit: http://www.pressthepresident.com/show.jsp?page=181264
It’s my favorite celebratory week again! Welcome to Banned Books Week! Go Team Freedom of Speech!
From the American Library Association website, “Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”
Books are challenged and banned at schools and public libraries all over the United States. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
This year there is a special focus on graphic novels. For those of you unfamiliar with this format, a graphic novel is essentially comics bound into a trade paperback format. Many people don’t understand that the comic format can be used to tell complex stories that deal with adult themes. This leads to many misunderstandings where a parent assumes a graphic novel is appropriate for a child, even if shelved in the adult section of a library, because it’s just a comic book, how bad can it be?
When I was young, like elementary school and early junior high, I read the occasional comic book. My Mom would sometimes buy me an Archie, Misty, or Dakota North book at the grocery store. I knew other comic books existed, like Superman and Batman, but I didn’t really have any interest. Overall I had no real interest in comics.
Then one day in high school a friend had this odd book with him. It was a thin, with a leather cover that had an odd gold key on it. When I expressed an interest, he asked if I liked comics. I said they were okay. And that’s when he loaned me the graphic novel “Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes” by Neil Gaimen.
It collected “Sandman” issues 1-8. I read it in one sitting and it turned my mind inside out. It had visuals that repulsed me (and still do), but writing that was compelling. It created a world, and characters, I’d never experienced before, and it did it through the medium of comics. After that I was sold. First I had to make sure I was on top of the “Sandman” series. Then fortunately as an adult I found a comic store who had an owner with a real knack for finding exactly what I would like. Now I have a large graphic novel collection that yes, even has some Batman in it.
Now I learn that a large selection of my favorite graphic novels have been banned or challenged and that really concerns me. Not only do these books have literary value in their own right, I feel graphic novels are a great gateway reading device for kids and teenagers who may have lost their love of reading or have yet to develop it. Keeping the age appropriate ones available in schools is of upmost importance and keeping the others available in public libraries is just, well, kick ass.
“Amazing Spider-Man: Revelations” by J. Michael Straczynski, John Romita, Jr., and Scott Hanna
“Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again” by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley
“Batman: The Killing Joke” by Alan Moore and Brian Boland
“Blankets” by Craig Thompson
“Bone” by Jeff Smith
“Dragon Ball” by Akira Toriyama
“Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel
“Ice Haven” by Daniel Clowes
“In The Night Kitchen” by Maurice Sendak
“League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier” by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
“Maus” by Art Spiegelman
“Neonomicon” by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows
“Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi
“Pride of Baghdad” by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon
“Sandman” by Neil Gaiman and various artists
“SideScrollers” by Matthew Loux
“Stuck in the Middle”, edited by Ariel Schrag
“Stuck Rubber Baby” by Howard Cruse
“Tank Girl” by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett
“The Color of Earth” by Kim Dong Hwa
“Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
If you want to help defend challenged comics and graphic novels, consider donating to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
Curious about what books have been banned or challenged this 2013-2014 cycle? Check out this year’s list!