Today I wanted to talk about books that are perfect for fall (more specifically October) but aren’t horror novels. For anyone who wants to get into the Halloween spirit but not be super scared or disturbed, these books are for you! They still contain spooky elements, but it’s easier to get through the story than your typical horror novel.
Welcome to the second day of Blog Every Day In October! Today I’m going to do an update post on my ongoing Studio Ghibli marathon (for more context, be sure to check out my previous post!).
I started this marathon because I got an adorable My Neighbor Totoro backpack for my birthday, even though I had never seen the film. When I went to watch the movie, I learned that most of the Studio Ghibli films are on HBO Max (except for Grave of the Fireflies), ultimately prompting my marathon.
As a reminder, before starting this marathon, I watched Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle.
Since my previous post, I have watched three more Studio Ghibli movies, which were The Secret Life of Arrietty, Grave of the Fireflies (I’m especially proud of this one because I struggled to find a platform that would stream it for a while there), and Only Yesterday.
Now I only have four more movies to watch: Tales From Earthsea, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Pompoko, and My Neighbors the Yamadas.
And that’s it for today’s post! What is your favorite Studio Ghibli film? Any recommendations about which of the four movies I should watch next? Let me know in the comments below!
And on that note, I will see you tomorrow with a new post!
It’s been a couple of years since I did Blog Every Day in October, as last year I was busy working and going to school for my masters. Now, I have the time (possibly) and the drive to make BEDIO have its comeback!
This week’s topic is books whose covers are mainly filled with words or books with pretty typography on the cover. A couple of the books I chose do have illustrations on the cover; however, they’re pretty simple to the point where the main focus is the title. So, without further ado, here are the books I chose for this week’s prompt!
The end of Banned Books Week has arrived, which means this is the last post of the week. I want to say thank you to everyone for joining me, and also to remind everyone of why Banned Books week is so important, especially now with the rise of book banning/challenges in schools.
The American Library Association (ALA) research and obtain information about book challenges across the United States. As I mentioned at the beginning of the week, there were 729 challenges placed last year, with 44% happening at school libraries, 37% at public libraries, 18% at schools, and around 1% at other academic institutions and places.
What were some of the main reasons for these challenges? Some of the more common reasons are sexual explicitness, discussion of critical race theory, profanity, “wokeness,” being obscene, and discussion of LGBTQIA+ content. In fact, out of the Top 10 challenged books, half of them were challenged because they contain LGBTQIA+ content.
I’m going to take this time to bring back a rant that I made in my Banned Books Highlight for The Color Purple. Sadly, this is still relevant, but a lot of recent challenges revolve around books discussing LGBTQIA+ topics, even when it’s simply a children’s book that happens to have LGBTQIA+ characters in it. That right there says a lot about how society views the LGBTQIA+ community. Even when the content itself isn’t inherently sexual, because being LGBTQIA+ tends to lead to an automatic association with sex, it can cause society to oversexualize LGBTQIA+ people, and deem any discussion of it “sexually explicit”. This needs to be reiterated, as so many books included on “Top Ten Most Challenged Books” lists are those handling LGBTQIA+ topics, especially when the content is aimed toward children.
I also find it interesting how many books depicting the social issues that different races face, such as police brutality against Black people are challenged. Surprised? No. Interesting, yes. After having done some research over the past few years, this is the first year where I noticed a significant amount of people citing “wokeness” and critical race theory as the reason for the challenge. With organized movements, such as Moms For Liberty, gaining traction in terms of starting these campaigns to challenge books, now is the time to get involved.
So how do you get involved? The best advice I can give from what I gathered over the years is to support your libraries. This could mean going to town halls and speaking out against book challenges, getting a library card and checking out books, or even simply asking your librarians how you can volunteer and support them when it comes to book challenges. Another thing you can do is to look for “A Friend of the Library” chapter for your local public library and looking further into any opportunities there.
Book challenges may always pop up, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t do something to defend the right for these stories to be told, especially to an audience who needs to hear them the most.
And that’s about all I have for the final Banned Books Week post!
To learn more about what books are most frequently challenged, check out these lists from the ALA. The lists include the most challenged books for individual years and books that were challenged the most within a decade.
Thanks again for joining me during Banned Books Week 2022, and I will see you all again next week with a new post!
I read this book maybe a year or two ago and was intrigued by the characters as well as the overall plot. Monday’s Not Coming follows our protagonist, Claudia, as she deals with the trauma of her best friend, Monday, suddenly going missing. We learn more about their relationship and Monday’s family history as Claudia tries to figure out what happened to her best friend.
Monday’s Not Coming has been banned and challenged in various states such as Texas, Virginia (the linked article is an opinion piece from a student’s dad), and Utah. The reasons for these challenges mainly revolve around its explicit language about sex. Although this is in the book, there is much more context around these scenes than simply being a sex scene, as it highlights teenagers’ pressures and struggles regarding sex (even then, there is a warning label that the book is only appropriate for students 14 years and older). The book itself also doesn’t revolve around sex, as it is about Claudia’s investigation into the disappearance of Monday and the toll it takes on her mental health. Monday’s Not Coming is thought provoking and provides an opportunity for teens to explore so many topics such as mental health, friendship, relationships and yes, even ideas surrounding sex.
I want to share an interview PBS published with Shekema Silveri, the Founder and Executive Director of the IFE Academy of Teaching & Technology, a K-12 independent micro school in Atlanta, Georgia. Although the interview is about Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, Silveri’s discussion highlights one of the main points of why book challenges/bans harm students. Although these books may have topics that are ugly and difficult to discuss, they are a safe environment for students to explore these topics. As Silveri states in her PBS interview,
Kids who come back from college tell me that my class feels more of a cultural studies class than an English class. The way I teach is that we explore the world, and literature is the artifact. In my classroom, the novels are not the be all to end all. The novels are what we use to examine the culture that we currently find ourselves in.
No parent, teacher, or legal guardian can shield kids from the real world for their entire lives. As important as it is for kids to be kids, it’s just as vital for them to learn that not everyone’s life is the same and that we all experience different things, both good and bad. The only thing book challenges do is make it more difficult for the students who aren’t easily able to buy these books to be able to read and experience these stories themselves.
Before I sign off, I want to add that if you like Monday’s Not Coming and/or Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing in general, her newest book, The Weight of Blood, came out recently! It’s a horror book about prom, so perfect for the upcoming Halloween season🎃
Have you read Monday’s Not Coming? What are your thoughts on the book and it’s reasons for being banned/challenged? Let me know in the comments below!
And on that note, I will see you in the next post!
P.S. I wanted to make a note specifically about the Utah case, as the challenge made here goes against the policy where the challenged book (in this case, books) is still available to students during the process. In this particular instance, however, the books were promptly removed from the shelves.
Throughout the week, I’ve been finding interesting articles about various topics that fall under the Banned Books Week theme, so I thought, why not share them?
The first article I found is about a librarian in New Jersey named Martha Hickson who created an app called Demo Defense to help other librarians fight against book challenges and bans. This is based on her experience from last year, when she fought against five book bans. It’s a super interesting read, and if you’re a librarian looking for resources, see if this might help!
This second article from NPR discusses the organized movements to get books banned, and Mass Resistance (an anti-LGBTQIA+ group), is highlighted in this article. It also applies to other organizations such as Moms For Liberty, who is another organization that has been backing many book challenges/bans.
Another article to check out is from The Week, and discusses the impact that book bans and challenges have on schools and libraries. It’s especially important as many of the challenges and bans are taking place in K-12 schools and libraries.
One more article I want to share is from the Washington Post, and is about the record amounts of book challenges increasing significantly compared to previous years. They also discuss a report from PEN America, which found that between,
“July 2021 and June 2022, there were 2,532 attempted book bans targeting 1,648 unique books. This newest count builds on a PEN America report published in April that found slightly more than 1,500 attempted book bans, targeting about 1,000 titles, between July 2021 and March 2022.”
Finally, I want to include this infographic I made for my Document Design class last year, which provides information on the difference between a book challenge and ban, as well as a short timeline of book banning.
For the sake of transparency, I want to mention that some of the information references statistics from 2020.
If you have any interesting articles you’d like to share, leave them in the comments below!
Otherwise, I will see you tomorrow with a new post!
P.S.: ACTUALLY, I’m not quite done yet 👀 I also wanted to highlight a special offer through Bookshop.Org for Banned Books Week!