Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again. For the East Coast, it’s hurricane season. For New York, it’s tornado season, apparently. For Californians like myself, it’s fire and earthquake season. Today, I picked up my room to make a clear pathway to my door frame and checked my shelves to make sure nothing dangerous will fall on me should an earthquake strike. Best to prepare, because even the smallest earthquake makes me crouch in my door frame, sobbing softly and whispering to myself, “I hate California. I hate California. I hate California…”
For the rest of the country, something very important and very non-weather-related is happening. It’s Banned Books Week. I’m participating on my own by reading a book that was banned in school libraries across several states: The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (winner of the 2007 Newbery Medal). One of my classmates read a passage from it during the Banned Books Week event last year at Cal State Fullerton and I have been intrigued ever since. I finally got the chance to start reading it last night after our neighborhood’s power went out due to record-breaking heat. I was instantly hooked by Patron’s ability to tell a story of a recovering alcoholic man’s heartbreaking voyage to rock bottom as Lucky, a 10-year-old girl, hears it. “Recovering alcoholics in a children’s book?” Yes, recovering alcoholics in a children’s book. But Lucky isn’t your average 10-year-old. She is, for one thing, a workin’ girl. And the maturity that she gained from her life’s circumstances is part of why I think this book is so appealing to me and my librarian friends as much as it is to kids. Patron takes her young audience seriously, and that is something that translates well for older audiences. I can’t wait to read more.
What are you reading for Banned Books Week?