I loved how it took the banning of Amy Anne Ollinger’s favourite book – From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – from her school library to turn the quiet and shy braid-sucking fourth grader into an activist, who would do whatever it takes to ensure every child at her school can read whatever books they want whether that is Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants or R.L. Stine‘s Goosebumps series.
In Ban This Book by Alan Gratz ($23.99, Raincoast Books, Starscape, Tor/Forge), a growing list of books are removed from the shelves of Shelbourne Elementary School’s library after one parent complains they are inappropriate for children.
Amy Anne, who understands how she lucky she is that her parents will buy her whatever book she wants, decides to fight back, creating a BBLL (Banned Books Locker Library) to ensure every student who wants to read the banned books can do so.
I loved how Amy Anne and her friends stood up for their beliefs, how they continued to get the banned books into their fellow students’ hands and what they were willing to do to ensure banning books simply because one person didn’t like it was stopped.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was the age of Amy Anne and her friends. Grade 4 would have the children at either nine or 10 depending on the time of year the book was set at. My son is nine and I have a really hard time believing he and his friends would be able to pull something like this off. My guy is smart and ingenious, creative and crafty, but if his school decided to ban Harry Potter, I can’t imagine him coming up these ideas and putting them into action.
I feel the book would have been more believable had the children themselves been older.
A copy of this book was provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review. The opinions are my own.