Sunday, August 15, 2010

Banned Books

We are doing Banned Books in my class at library school this week, and one of the titles I had to read was any book from the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I chose the Agony of Alice simply because I found one on the sale rack. I can't get over this book. I thought it was great. The book caused contant flashbacks to my sixth grade year (and all of the embarrasing things that I did).

The entire time I was reading, a comparison bell was ringing in my head-and then it hit me! Alice is like Junie B. Jones only older. Like Junie, Alice is not perfect, and some of her reactions to situations are less than admirable. Also like Junie, Alice redeems herself. Both have incredible powers of observation and notice the little details in life. Alice has been around a lot longer than Junie, and I wonder if Barbara Park hangs out with Phyllis Naylor.

In the story, Alice decides that lacking a mom or an older sister, she will adopt a mother in order to have a "road map" about life. The following story is of the role model she chooses, and of the one she is given. By the end of the novel, Alice had grown a lot.
The best part of this novel is the humor. I found myself laughing out loud at several parts.
I am not sure why this title would be banned or challenged. Alice does get her period in the story, she thinks about kissing boys, and she uses the image of a Catholic saint in which to focus her prayers. Honestly, I do not believe in banning books for any reason. EVER. I'm at a loss as to why this one was challenged at all. That will require more research. It is possible that the entire series is in question, and this title is missing some "dangerous" aspect that the others have.
This title is highly recommended for fans of Judy Blume, grown Junie B. Jones fans, or any middle school girl who likes books about "real girls" (re: not fantasy or horror).